, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 3-11

The biology of the golden hammerhead,Sphyrna tudes, off Trinidad

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Synopsis

The golden hammerhead is a poorly known species of shark that inhabits the northeastern coast of South America from Venezuela to Uruguay. It is found in coastal waters at depths of 9–40 m over muddy bottoms. It is a small species which attains a maximum size of 122 cm and 9 kg. The most distinctive characteristic of this species is its striking bright orange or yellow color. Juveniles less than 80 cm TL are bright yellow or orange; adults are pale yellow. The color is apparently due to pigments present in their diets; juveniles feed primarily on shrimp, while adults feed on fish and catfish eggs. Two pigments have been isolated and their characterization is presently being ascertained. Males mature at about 80 cm TL; females mature at about 98 cm TL. Ovulation and mating occur in August. Gestation appears to last about ten months. Parturition occurs in shallow waters from late May to June. Broods consist of five to twelve young, which measure about 30 cm at birth. The ovarian cycle runs concurrently with the gestation cycle, so it is likely that females are fertilized shortly after parturition, and that the species reproduces yearly.