The Hammerhead Shark
Hammerhead sharks are found in the warm waters surrounding
continental shelves and coastlines. The Hammerhead Shark
belongs to the family Sphyrnidae, a group of sharks with a
distinctive head shape. The head of the Hammerhead Shark is
laterally oriented and flat. (This is called a cephalofoil.)
There are nine species of Hammerhead Shark that can be as
much as twenty feet (six meters) long. Every Hammerhead
Shark has a flat lateral head. The eyes and nostrils are at
either end of the long head, giving this shark a very
It is thought that the sharks find food by using the hammer
shape of their head. Supposedly the shape of the head allows
for close quarter maneuverability that lets the Hammerhead
Shark turn quickly without losing stability. But some
biologists think that this skill is more attributable to the
shark's unique vertebrae structure.
The Hammerhead Shark is the most negatively buoyant shark,
meaning that it sinks more than it floats. They have skin
like any shark that is electroreceptoric through sense pores
called ampullae of Lorenzini. This allows them to search for
prey more effectively by detecting the electrical signature
of a fish to within half a billionth of a volt.
They also have a greater chance of finding particles in the
water due to large nasal tracts situated on the Hammer head.
Because they have wider spaced sensory organs they have a
greater chance of detecting prey or a mate. In fact, the
head of a Hammerhead Shark is akin to the antennae of an
Hammerhead Sharks seem to hunt for small ground dwelling
prey more than anything else and have a disproportionately
small mouth to their relative size. They do form schools
during the daytime and the numbers can sometimes reach one
hundred sharks. During the night they become solitary
Hammerhead Sharks have been known to acquire a tan from
prolonged exposure to sunlight. This ability is like humans
and pigs. The tanning occurs when the Hammerhead Shark is in
shallow waters close to the surface for a long period.
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