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smooth hammerhead Smooth hammerhead shark

SMOOTH HAMMERHEAD

Sphyrna zygaena

SIZE

To about 13 ft (4 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Head broadly arched and hammer-shaped, lacking indentation at midline ("smooth")
  • Pelvic fins with straight to slightly concave rear margins
  • Color deep olive to brownish-gray above, shading to white below
  • Underbody of posterior portion of body may have numerous small dark spots on lighter-shaded areas
  • No interdorsal ridge

DISTRIBUTION

Nova Scotia, Canada to Florida.

HABITAT

Coastal and offshore; from surface to at least 66 ft (20 m); tolerates much cooler waters than most hammerheads.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Bonnethead has shovel-shaped head; growns to about 5 ft (1.5 m). Scalloped Hammerhead and Great Hammerhead have prominent central indentations on anterior margin of head. Great Hammerhead attains larger maximum size (18.5 ft (5.6 m)); has very high first dorsal fin, pelvic fins with curved rear margins.

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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