Contact Us

Apex Predators Program
NOAA/NMFS/NEFSC
28 Tarzwell Drive
Narragansett RI 02882-1152 USA

Email us

NEFSC Apex Predators Program

Great hammerhead shark Great hammerhead shark

GREAT HAMMERHEAD

Sphyrna mokarran

SIZE

To about 18.5 ft (5.6 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Head nearly straight and hammer-shaped, marked by prominent indentation at midline
  • First dorsal fin tall and strongly curved
  • Color dark olive green to brownish-gray above, shading to white below
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

Massachusetts to Brazil, including Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Common off Carolinas in summer. Rare north of North Carolina.

HABITAT

Coastal and offshore; near surface to >250 ft (76 m).

SIMILAR SPECIES

Bonnethead has shovel-shaped head; growns to about 5 ft (1.5 m). Smooth Hammerhead and Scalloped Hammerhead have swept-back "hammers," smaller first dorsal fins, pelvic fins with straight rear margins. Smooth Hammerhead lacks central indentation in "hammer."

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

www.nefsc.noaa.gov
NMFS Search
Link Disclaimer
webMASTER
Privacy Policy
(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)