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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

bonnethead shark Bonnethead shark

BONNETHEAD

Sphyrna tiburo

SIZE

To about 5 ft (1.5 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Head shovel-shaped, lacking indentation at midline, evenly rounded between eyes
  • Back and sides often with scattered small dark spots
  • Color gray, tan, or greenish above, paler below
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

North Carolina to Brazil, including Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Rare to Rhode Island.

HABITAT

Warm, shallow coastal waters over sandy and muddy bottoms, coral reefs, and grass flats; common in bays and estuaries.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Scalloped hammerhead, Great Hammerhead, and Smooth Hammerhead attain greater maximum size; have hammer-shaped, not shovel-shaped, heads.

MORE INFORMATION

Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)