The Great Hammerhead shark, an apex predator (not preyed upon), is the largest of the nine species of the hammerhead shark family. They average 13.1 feet in length, 500 pounds in weight, and live as long as 44 years. Great hammerheads typically feed on stingrays, cephalopods (octopus/squids), crustaceans (crabs/lobster), and even other sharks! They also travel and migrate alone, unlike other hammerhead shark species.
Great Hammerhead sharks are typically grey/brown/green in color and have a white underbelly. They have jagged, triangular teeth under their hammer-shaped head, as well as a very tall and large dorsal fin. It is because of their large size that they are apex predators, at the top of the food chain.
The Hammer Head
The hammer-shaped heads of hammerhead sharks, scientifically referred to as their cephalofoils (each cephalofoil is one side of their head), are primarily used in locating prey. Their cephalofoils contain electrical receptors that can sense prey, even under the seafloor. Some Great Hammerhead sharks have been spotted using one side of their head to hold down stingrays as they eat the ray's wings. Their eyes are located on the ends of their cephalofoils, meaning they have wide-range vision and are able to closely examine a great deal of the ocean floor at a time in search of their prey.
Although the Great Hammerhead lies at the top of the food chain, they are becoming endangered due to human actions. Due to overfishing and the global shark fin trade, many Great Hammerhead sharks are caught by chance, and their fins, valuable to fisheries, cause many Great Hammerhead sharks to die before they can live out their full lives. Their high mortality rate from being caught combined with their valuable fins and overfishing have critically endangered Great Hammerhead sharks (over 80-90% population decline).