Shark Lab - Hammerheads

IT'S HAMMER TIME!
A Hammerhead Smorgasbord

CoralRealm has compiled the most comprehensive collection of information on this unique group of sharks that you'll find anywhere!

Included in this 13 part presentation are details on hammerhead schooling behavior, information on taxonomy, feeding behavior, food habits, habits, social behavior, hammerhead body language, potential danger to man, best places to see hammerheads and much more. There's also a very rare photo of a live golden hammerhead with a detailed species profile for this shark, as well as for four other hammerhead species. PLUS, we have a selection of Quicktime™ video clips for you to view to go along with these various hammerhead subjects.

The Hammerhead Smorgasbord will be continually updated with all the latest information on these sharks as it becomes available!

Hammerhead Schooling

Schooling Hammerhead clip #1

Many divers seek out locations where they can swim with schooling hammerheads. Learn about the incredible social structure of hammerheads and why they school. See some cool Quicktime™ video clips of hammerheads schooling.

Hammerhead Taxonomy

How many species of hammerheads are there and how do they differ from one another? Find out in this article!

Hammerhead Social Behaviors

Most of the hammerheads are very social animals. Learn about their body language and how they communicate with one another and with divers.

See Quicktime™ video clips showing hammerhead social behavior.

Hammerhead Hangouts

There are many places where you can observe hammerheads in the wild. Find out where to go.

Hammerhead Hygiene

In some locations, hammerheads regularly visit reefs to be cleaned. In this section you will find out who cleans hammerheads and how they solicit cleaning.

Danger to Man

More and more divers are encountering hammerheads in the wild. But are these sharks dangerous? Find out!

Hammerhead Tidbits

How about some hammerhead trivia? Click here to learn hammerhead tidbits that are great for breaking the ice at parties!

References

Check-out this list of scientific and popular articles on hammerhead sharks.

What's It All About?

Sting Cuisine

There is at least one species of hammerhead that loves to eat stingrays! Learn about this species, and about the food habits of other members of the family.

The Golden Hammerhead

Learn about, and see a rare underwater photo of the golden hammerhead.

What's up with the Hammer?

There has been much speculation about the function of the hammerheads odd head. Learn about some of the proposed functions, as well as the latest research on the hammerhead's hammer. Click here!

<> Special thanks to Bruce Robison and John Boyle for the wonderful hammerhead video!

A Hammerhead Smorgasbord:
Introduction

"Looked at head-on, sharks with their generally flat, pointed heads, their staring eyes, their undershot mouths, have a singular and sinister appearance. In the shape of its head the hammerhead goes further, and this viewed in front, from above or below, is bizarre in the extreme. If one could see a hammerhead standing vertically in the water and facing one with only the head and mouth out of the water, its appearance would certainly justify the epithet "unearthly." Many years ago, before I knew anything about hammerhead sharks, I saw such a picture. To me it portrayed a monstrous apparition from the deep, something from a nightmare." E.W. Gudger, 1947

The hammerhead sharks have long been the subjects of awe and conjecture. Their oddly-shaped heads make them recognizable to even the most ichthyologically challenged. Scientists and laypeople alike have wondered about the function of the odd-shaped head. Do they have greater maneuverability, can they smell better or is their vision enhanced because of their long head lobes? In recent years, valuable insights into the role of this structure have been gained, both through field observations and lab study.

Many aquanauts have sought out underwater locations where they can observe these marvelous creatures. In fact, whole dive operations have evolved around scalloped hammerhead schools that occur relatively predictably at specific locations. These hammerhead assemblages have not only caught the attention of sport divers, they have also been the subject of intense scientific study. Researchers, using only mask and snorkel, have accumulated more information on the social behavior of the scalloped hammerheads than any other shark species. Some professional divers have gone one step further, employing re-breather technology to study and film these sharks at close range. As a result of the efforts of these underwater voyeurs, the once secret lives of the hammerhead sharks are now being exposed to scientists and lay persons alike.