Great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
•Conservation status: IUCN Red Listed as ‘Endangered’
•Also referred to as ‘Guardia Civil’ in Spanish, meaning “Civil Guard.”
•It can be difficult to distinguish between hammerhead shark species. Scalloped hammerheads have defined scalloping of the leading edge of the ‘hammer’ while smooth hammerheads have none. However, great hammerheads are larger with only slight indentations in the ‘hammer’ and a very tall, sickle-shaped dorsal fin. Average adult size is 4 meters (13 ft.) in length.
•They can be found in tropical waters, both inshore and offshore; and are considered nomadic, with long migrations.
•Great hammerhead sharks only reproduce once every two years.
•Great hammerheads are known to feed on stingrays, using the sensory system on the underside of their ‘hammer’ to detect their prey in the sand, pinning the ray to the seafloor, and then manipulating it into their mouth.
•These sharks are particularly vulnerable to being hooked, caught, and handled by fishermen; and may not survive even if released.
•Their fins are considered high quality by the fin trade and are one of the fourteen species most frequently found in the Hong Kong markets.
•Most hammerheads keep their distance from divers in non-baited situations.
Information provided by the SharksCount program. Find out more about citizen science for sharks at www.sharksavers.org/sharkscount.
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