Skip to main content
Select Source:

hammerhead shark

hammerhead shark, active, surface-living shark, genus Sphyrina. Its curious head has lateral projections resembling the crossbar of a T, and its eyes and ears are located in the outer tips of the projections. This arrangement apparently gives the shark excellent binocular vision, and helps them see above, below, and behind as well as in front. It has been suggested that the extension of the head in the plane of the pectoral fins may give the fish increased lift, but there is no evidence that hammerheads are better swimmers than other sharks. Found in inshore, brackish water, hammerheads are both predators and scavengers. They feed on a variety of fishes including skates, rays, and other hammerheads, and large hammerheads have been known to attack and eat humans without provocation. The largest species is the widely distributed great hammerhead, Sphyrina mokarran, which typically reaches 15 ft (4.6 m) in length; the distance between its eyes may be as much as 3 ft (90 cm). The common hammerhead, S. zygaena, is found in all tropical waters, summering as far N as Newfoundland. It may reach a length of 12 ft (3.7 m). The bonnet, or shovelhead, shark is a small, harmless hammerhead found in the W Atlantic from Brazil to Massachusetts. It reaches a length of 5 ft (150 cm) and its lateral lobes are much shorter than in other species, giving the head a rounded appearance. There are several other species distributed throughout tropical and temperate oceans. Hammerhead sharks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Chondrichthyes, order Selachii, family Sphyrnidae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hammerhead shark." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hammerhead shark." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hammerhead-shark

"hammerhead shark." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hammerhead-shark

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Sphyrnidae

Sphyrnidae (hammerhead shark; subclass Elasmobranchii, order Lamniformes) A small family of marine, occasionally brackish-water sharks characterized by the sideways expansion of the head with the eyes and nostrils located almost at the tip of the lateral expansions. These peculiar sharks are found principally in tropical coastal regions and tend to be large (e.g. Sphyrna zygaena grows to 7 m). There are about nine species.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sphyrnidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sphyrnidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sphyrnidae

"Sphyrnidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sphyrnidae

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

hammerhead shark

hammerhead shark See SPHYRNIDAE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"hammerhead shark." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"hammerhead shark." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hammerhead-shark

"hammerhead shark." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved February 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hammerhead-shark

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.