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GREAT HAMMERHEAD SHARK

Sphyrna mokarran

Family: Sphyrnidae

Description: wide cephalofoil (hammer) with a straight front margin with medial and lateral indentations, tall prominent sickle shaped first dorsal fin

Size: 400 - 600 cm 

Weight: 230 kg

Sexual maturity: 2.3 m

Average life span: 20-30 years

Habitat: found in waters in the range of 1-80m mostly around coral reefs, as well as lagoons, island terraces and continental shelves.

Distribution: tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide between the latitudes of 40N and 37S

Diet: bony fish, cephalopods, small sharks, crustaceans with favourite prey being rays and skates

Reproduction: viviparous, breed once every 2 years, gestation period 11 months, 6-55 pups

Status: endangered

Human pressure: Heavily fished for fins used in shark fin soup, skin is used for leather, liver oil for vitamins and carcasses used for fishmeal. Often caught indirectly as bycatch in commercial fisheries.

Other info: believed its cephalofoil is an adaption for prey handling and delivers a powerful blow disabling its prey before pinning it down using its head. When hunting, they swing their head from side to side to pick up electrical signatures of rays buried in the sand.