There are nine species of hammerhead sharks worldwide in the family Sphyyrnidae. The Great Hammerhead is the largest reaching a length up to 20 feet and weighing as much as 1,000 pounds. Hammerheads are named for the unusual shape of their head which is flattened forming two lobes which extend out to the side.
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Hammerhead Shark Facts & Tidbits
- Stingrays are a favorite food of hammerheads, who are often found to have stingray spines in their head and mouth.
- Of the nine species, only one (the Great Hammerhead) is considered a danger to humans because of it large size and aggresive nature.
- Hammerheads give live birth to pups that were hatched from egg cases inside the females uterus. They give birth to many pups in one litter, sometimes as many as 40.
They are found in temperate and tropical regions around the globe and are found in both nearshore and offshore waters usually between 1-300 meters in depth. Hot spots include Colombia, Costa Rica (Cocos Island), and Hawaii.
Of the nine species found worldwide, seven of them have been evaluated by the IUCN Red List. The Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) is listed as Endangered with a decreasing population.
Like other sharks around the world, they are under threat from bycatch in commercial fisheries as well as shark-finning, the practice of capturing sharks and removing their fins for commercial purposes.
The Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) is also listed as Endangered. Other species are in decline or their population trends are currently unknown.
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