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 Horn shark (Heterodontus francisci)

  Index
> Photo
> Range Map
> Systematics
> Name
> Appearance
> Coloration
> Distribution
> Biology
> Feeding
> Size
> Reproduction
> Similar Species
> Endangerment
> Danger to Humans

 Photo

Horn shark
©
 Range Map

Earth Map


 Systematics

Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Bullhead sharks (Heterodontiformes)
    Family: Bullhead sharks (Heterodontidae)
      Genus: Heterodontus (Heterodontus)


 Name

Scientific: Heterodontus francisci
German: Hornhai
English: Horn shark
French: Requin dormeur cornu
Spanish: Dormilon cornudo


 Appearance

Cylindrical trunk. Head slightly elevated. Spiracles present, behind and below the eyes. Suborbital ridges are moderately high. Both dorsal fins with a stount spine. Origin of first dorsal fin over pectoral fin bases. Anal fin present.

 Coloration

Grey to light brown, with scattered small spots on fins and body. No further conspicuous markings.

 Distribution

Eastern Pacific: Central California to Gulf of California. Possibly around Ecuador and Peru.

 Biology

Lives mostly close to the surface (2m to 11m water depth), down to maximum 150 m. Prefers stony and sandy bottoms, and kelp forests. Nocturnal, mostly solitary. When they move on the bottom they can use their pectorals to move forward. Sluggish, during daytime mainly motionless on the bottom with the head stuck in a crevice. It seems that their activity span is correlated to the light intensity.

 Feeding

Benthic invertebrates, mostly sea urchins, crabs and possibly abalone (bivalve).

 Size

Average size between 70 cm and 90 cm, maximum total length about 120 cm.

 Reproduction

Egg laying (oviparous). It has been observed (in aquaria) that the egg deposition starts about 2 weeks after the mating event and lasts a period of about 4 months. During that time 2 eggs are laid at the same time, within a 2 week interval. Pups hatch after 7 to 9 months, size at birth is about 15 cm. Males reach sexual maturity at a minimum length of about 60 cm.

 Similar Species

Mexican hornshark but the dots on the Mexican hornshark are much bigger and the suborbital ridges are less dominant.

 Endangerment

Status in the IUCN Red List:


No Entry found in Red List.


 Danger to Humans

Harmless.



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