HAMMERHEAD SHARK
Sphyrna lewini

Habitat: Hammerhead sharks typically are found in the open ocean near reefs.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be more than 13 feet long.

Natural history: Natural history: Hammerheads are well-named, since their head is shaped like a hammer. Bizarre to say the least, scientists have been speculating on its function for years. Some say it gives the shark lift when it swims, like the wing of a plane. Others say it makes a larger area for the shark's electrical and smell receptors. Either way they have been successful predators for millions of years. Hammerheads move in from the open ocean to the reef, feeding on fishes, squid and crustaceans. The reef habitat is also the place to get a "quick shower and a shave." Hammerheads swim slowly over "cleaning stations" manned by Barberfish and King Angelfish. Here, they are picked clean of parasites and sent on their way. Hammerheads are famous for their "schools." Hundreds of sharks will gather around offshore islands and seamounts. Scientists are not sure why hammerheads school but think that groups have a better chance to feed and find a mate. Hammerheads bear live young, with litters containing between four and 37 pups.

Range: Found in warm temperate and tropical oceans.


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