Shark Species

How Many Types of Hammerhead Sharks Are There?

Among all the species of sharks found in the world’s oceans, the most easily recognizable are the hammerhead sharks; even kids can identify them. Their heads are shaped like hammers, explaining their exceptional appearance. Whether you call it the strangest creature in the oceans or the most speculating, hammerhead sharks are well known for their distinctive characteristics.

With that said, you will find a varied variety in the family of hammerhead sharks that makes you think about how many types of hammerhead sharks there are.

Where do Hammerhead Sharks Live?

In warm waters relatively close to shore, hammerhead sharks can be found, although most of them do not pose much danger to humans. Let us first see the scientific classification of these distinguishing species.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Chondrichthyes
  • Superorder: Selachimorpha
  • Order: Carcharhiniformes
  • Family: Sphyrnidae
  • Genera:  Eusphyra (9 species), Sphyrna (1 species)

Talking about how many types of hammerhead sharks are there, the marine taxonomist was of the belief that there are 9 species belonging to the genus Sphyrna; however, a new species is found belonging to the genus of Eusphyra. So it makes a total of 10 hammerhead sharks in the family. Want to know the particulars? Read it out below.

Types of Hammerhead Sharks

There is a total of 10 shark species belonging to this family, out of which 9 belong to the Eusphyra and 1 to the Sphyrna. Following are the details of the species.

1: Winghead shark


Scientific name:
E. blochii

Conservation status: Endangered

The winghead shark is a relatively small species, reaching a maximum known length of 6.2 feet. It has a long, flat, and extremely wide head, with a greatly extended snout. The eyes are trivial and positioned on the sides of the skull, and the nostrils are placed at the tips of the long snout. The mouth is small and contains 26–28 tooth rows in each jaw. Note down the scientific name; as it is the only species belonging to the Eusphyra genus.

2: Scalloped bonnethead


Scientific name:
S. corona

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

The scalloped bonnethead shark is a small member of the shark family, Sphyrnidae. In terms of size, it is one of the smallest hammerhead sharks, measuring up to just over 3 feet in length.

It is a common inshore and nearshore species that inhabits waters over continental and insular shelves, as well as in bays, lagoons, and estuaries. Freshwater habitats are frequented by this species. The scalloped bonnethead is a viviparous species, with females giving birth to litters of four to seven pups.

3: Carolina hammerhead


Scientific name:
S. gilberti

Conservation status: Data Deficient

Formally labeled in 2013, in terms of appearance, it is almost identical to the scalloped hammerhead, but it has about 10 vertebral discs fewer than the scalloped hammerhead.

4: Scalloped hammerhead


Scientific name:
S. lewini

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

The scalloped hammerhead shark is a species of hammerhead shark which is characterized by its “scalloped” shaped head. This type of shark is found in humid and subtropical waters worldwide and can develop to be up to 14 feet in length.

The scalloped hammerhead shark is an apex predator and is known to prey on a variety of fish, squid, and other sharks. The sharks of this species are also known to wander long distances in pursuit of food and mates.

5: Scoophead


Scientific name:
S. media

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

The male adults of this little-known species of hammerhead shark measure 90 cm long, while the female adults are 100–132 cm in length. A mallet-shaped head and a moderately broad body distinguish it from other species.

6: Great hammerhead


Scientific name:
S. mokarran

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

These sharks are found in temperate waters around the ecosphere and can mature to be quite enormous, with some getting lengths of over 20 feet.

Despite their large size, hammerhead sharks are not deliberated to be a risk to humans and are quite shy creatures. However, they are apex predators and can be dangerous if provoked. Their nourishment comprises mainly fish, but they have also been acknowledged to eat smaller sharks, rays, and squid.

7: Bonnethead


Scientific name:
S. tiburo

Conservation status: Endangered

The bonnethead shark is a small member of the shark family, Sphyrnidae. Despite its small size, this species is easily recognizable by its “hammer” or “bonnet” shaped head. The bonnethead shark is found in humid waters around the sphere and is particularly common in the western Atlantic Ocean.

This species is relatively small and harmless to humans and is often found in shallow coastal waters. The bonnethead shark is an opportunistic feeder, and its diet consists primarily of small fish, squid, and lobsters.

8: Smalleye hammerhead


Scientific name:
S. tudes

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

The Smalleye hammerhead shark is a small species with a maximum length of 4.9 feet. It is grey-brown in color, with a pale underside. This species is ovoviviparous, with the young being born alive. Litters of up to 19 young have been recorded. The Smalleye hammerhead shark feeds on bony fishes, squid, and crustaceans.

9: Smooth hammerhead


Scientific name:
S. zygaena

Conservation status: Vulnerable

It is a relatively large shark, in fact, the second largest in the hammerhead family, with a body length of up to 16 feet. The smooth hammerhead shark is distinguished from other hammerhead sharks by its relatively long and flat head, which gives it a hammer-like shape.

The smooth hammerhead shark is a predator, feeding on a range of fish, squid, and other sharks. It is known to be a relatively aggressive shark and has been known to attack humans.

10: Whitefin Hammerhead


Scientific name: S. couardi

Conservation status: Not specified

Whitefin Hammerhead Sharks are considered among the rarest sharks, and they remain so to a certain extent. In spite of the Whitefin’s fascinating nature, it turned out to have morphologically little different from the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (S. lewini).

Conclusion

Sharks are among the fascinating creatures of the ocean, and when it comes to the hammerhead species, it becomes more intriguing since these species hold distinctive characteristics. As of today, there are 10 known species of hammerhead sharks, out of which 9 belong to the genus Sphyrna and 1 to the genus of Eusphyra.

About the author

Ameer Hamza