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Scalloped hammerhead shark

© Jonathan Green

Common name:

Scalloped hammerhead shark

Scientific name:

Sphyrna lewini

Spanish name:

Tiburón martillo

Conservation status:

Critically Endangered


Average lifespan:

20 - 30 years

Average size:

2.5 - 3 metres

Maximum size:

4.2 metres

Average weight:

80 - 100 kilograms

Maximum weight:

152 kilograms


The most common of the hammerhead sharks, scalloped hammerheads are a migratory species found in warm temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. They can be told apart from their close relatives by the ‘scalloped’ front edge of their hammer-shaped head (which is called the cephalofoil). The cephalofoil has evolved to improve vision and to provide a larger area for the electroreceptors that the sharks rely upon for hunting prey on or under the sediment. 

The body is slender and is a brown-bronze colour on top and white below. The teeth are narrow backwards-facing triangles, perfect for seizing prey that they can eat whole rather than having to take bites out of larger prey. Their diet ranges from schooling fish such as sardines, herrings and mackerel, to stingrays, squid and even crustaceans. 

Scalloped hammerhead sharks in Galapagos

How you can help

Please help us conserve the endangered sharks of Galapagos by donating today or by adopting a hammerhead shark.

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