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Bonnethead Shark

Sphyrna tiburo

Distinguishing Characteristics

bonnethead shark
  • Head is broadly widened into the shape of a shovel
  • Front of head NOT notched at midline
  • Back is gray or grayish-brown in color
  • Sides may have small dark spots
  • No interdorsal ridge

Similar Species: Other hammerhead sharks obtain larger size and have hammer-shaped heads.



Smallest member of the hammerhead family. Maximum length about 4 feet. Matures at approximately 2 years of age (about 3 feet) and is estimated to live 12+ years.


Abundant in nearshore Florida waters. Commonly seen over shallow sand and mud flats. Moves into deeper coastal waters during the colder months.


Feeds primarily on crabs, shrimp, mollusks, and small fishes.


Mating occurs during the fall and after a short gestation period (4-5 months), females give birth to live young in shallow waters. Broods contain 6-14 pups. Size at birth about 12 inches.

Additional Information

Edible, but marketed mostly as crab bait. Good sport fish; use light tackle with live shrimp or cut-bait. Typically, harmless to humans, but can bite if mishandled during catch and release. Often displayed in aquaria.

State Record: This species is not currently eligible for a state record. 

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles