The smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) is a species of hammerhead shark in the family Sphyrnidae. This species is named "smooth hammerhead" because of the shape of its head. Called the "cephalofoil," it indeed looks like a hammer. But the “smooth” part comes from it not having an indentation in the middle of the hammer’s head (the front margin). If that doesn’t make this species stand out, maybe the fact that they like temperate waters does! You can find it worldwide at medium latitudes. In the summer, they migrate away from the equator and to the poles, following cool water. Like other hammerheads, they can sometimes form schools numbering in the thousands!
It is the second-largest hammerhead shark after the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), it measures up to 5 m (16 ft) long and weighs 400 kg (800 lb). That means it needs a varied diet of bony fishes, invertebrates, rays, and even other sharks to sustain it! An active hunter, they are also hunted by many for their fins for shark fin soup. They are viviparous and give birth a litter that can have up to 40 pups!
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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