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COMMON NAME: Bonnethead Shark

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sphyrna tiburo

DESCRIPTION: Small gray to gray-brown shark with spade-shaped head; can reach about 5 feet in length.

HABITAT/RANGE: Warm, shallow estuaries and bays on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas.

Crustaceans, especially blue crab.


ON EXHIBIT: Adventure Zone A – Ocean Realm Exhibit

Bonnethead Sharks

The bonnethead shark is one of the most abundant sharks in south Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. It can typically be found in shallow bays and mangrove communities. It is frequently mistaken for a baby great hammerhead shark, although its head resembles a shovel more than a hammer. It is the smallest of the nine different species of hammerhead shark.

The bonnethead shark is very shy and difficult to approach, so it is not a threat to humans. When it swims, it moves its uniquely-shaped head from side to side, which allows it to detect electrical stimuli from potential prey, just like the larger hammerhead species. The location of the eyes at the far sides of the head increases its field of vision.