Sphyrna mokarran
Hammerhead Shark
Photo Credit: (c) Doug Perrine
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Sphyrna mokarran


A common tropical and subtropical shark that inhabits the open ocean and the shallow coastal waters of both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida. Favors continental and insular coral reefs but is often associated with inlets and the mouths of bays. Nomadic and migratory, with some Florida populations moving north along the Atlantic coast in summer.

Feeds on a stingrays, grouper, sea catfish, a variety of bony fishes, sharks, crabs, and squid.

Gives birth to live young. Litters contain 13-40 pups. Size at birth about 2 feet. Utilizes shallow bays and coastal waters as nursery areas.

Maximum size about 18 feet. Matures at approximately 7-8 feet and is a long-lived shark (20+ years).

Human factors
Taken in the commercial longline fishery mainly for their high quality fins. Considered to be dangerous, ranking seventh in unprovoked attacks on humans (often confused with more abundant Scalloped Hammerhead shark).

FWC Facts:
Pyrodinium bahamense, an HAB organism that blooms each summer in Tampa Bay and Indian River Lagoon, chemically lights up to glow in the dark. This is called bioluminescence.

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