Shovelhead shark

Visitors can enjoy the new aquarium that houses several shovelhead shark specimens whose scientific name is Sphyrna tiburo.

Where to find them?

In the Access Building.

General notes

The most distinctive characteristic of this species is its “bonnet-”like head that makes it easy to identify it from other different hammerhead shark species. Its eyes are on both sides of its head and considerably widen its field of vision. These sharks move their head from side to side when swimming.
Another feature that also distinguishes it from other hammerhead sharks is its small size, about 100 cm on average, but females tend to be bigger than males.
Its body colouring varies from grey to grey-brown with greenish tones. From the side, its colouring becomes lighter from top to bottom, and its belly is white.

Geographic distribution

This species is distributed throughout tropical and subtropical waters: from New England waters to the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil in the Atlantic, and from Southern California to waters close to Ecuador in the Pacific.


This viviparous species can give birth from 6 and 9 young per litter, which measure roughly 35 cm.
After mating, females may store sperm for up to 4 months which means that offspring are born at the best time of the year.

It feeds on

These animals feed basically on crustaceans (crabs and prawns), molluscs and small fish.

Did you know that?

The scientific name “sphyrna” can be translated from the Ancient Greek word meaning “hammer” given the obvious hammer-shaped head that this animal has. However, of all existing hammerhead sharks species (10 different species), the head of this species is the least “hammer-shaped”.