Sphyrna mokarran   (Ruppell,  1837) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Elasmobranchii

Image copyrights: Karl Dietz

Size: Length 370-610 cm TL (male/unsexed); 60-70 cm (at birth)

Max. weight reported: 449.5 kg

Color: Body gray or grayish brown dorsally, becoming pale below; no markings on fins.

Body elongate and laterally compressed. Head "hammer"-shaped, its width from 23 to 31% total body length, its anterior contour with a deep median indentation. Eyes and nostrils close together; narial grooves absent or hardly developed. Teeth strongly serrated at all sizes. Second dorsal fin very high, its height slightly greater than height of anal fin. Pelvic fins high and deeply falcate. A shallow upper precaudal pit, with an acutely pointed posterior ridge.

Dioecious, internal (oviduct) fertilization, internal live bearers. Viviparous with a yolk sac placenta and 13-42 young in a litter; 6-42 pups after gestation period of ~11 months. Size at birth between 50 to 70 cm TL.

Synonym (s)
Sphyrna lewini (non Griffith & Smith, 1834)
(Misapplied name)
Sphyrna ligo Fraser-Brunner, 1950
(Junior synonym)
Sphyrna mokarran (Ruppell, 1837)
(Senior synonym)
Sphyrna tudes (non Valenciennes, 1822)
(Misapplied name)
Sphyrna zygaena (non Linnaeus, 1758)
(Misapplied name)
Zygaena dissimilis Murray, 1887
(Junior synonym)
Zygaena mokarran Ruppell, 1837
(Senior synonym)
Zygaena tudes (non Valenciennes, 1822)
(Misapplied name)
Zygaena mokarran Ruppell, 1835
Sphyrna mokarran Misra, 1969
Sphyrna mokorran Ruppell, 1837

Common Name (s)
• Great Hammerhead (English)
• Kammu Sorrah (Telugu)
• Zuali Magur (Oriya)
• Great Hammerhead Shark (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries. Meat utilized for human consumption (fresh, fresh-frozen, dried-salted, and smoked), liver oil for vitamins, fins for soup, hides for leather, and carcasses for fishmeal . Its large fins, including the tail, sail-like first dorsal fin, are prized in the Oriental sharkfin trade.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Sphyrna mokarran is highly valued for its fins (in target and incidental fisheries), suffers very high bycatch mortality and only reproduces once every two years, making it vulnerable to over-exploitation and population depletion. Generally regarded as solitary, and is therefore unlikely to be abundant wherever it occurs.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Stingrays and other batoids, groupers, sea catfishes, other small bony fishes, crabs, squid, other sharks, rays, and lobsters
IUCN Status:  Endangered


• Kerala, Kochi INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai INDIA
• Red Sea
• Kerala, Kochi Fisheries Harbour INDIA (Record: 01/2008-06/2009)

Literature Source(s)
  • Joshi, KK; Balachandran, K and Raje, SG (2008) Changes in the shark fishery at Cochin Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 103-105 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • MarineBio Available at - http://marinebio.org/
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at - http://www.fishbase.org
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 5 Available at - http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ad468e/ad468e00.HTM
  • Raje, SG; Sivakami, S; Mohanraj, G; Manoj Kumar, PP; Raju, A and Joshi, KK (2007) An atlas on the Elasmobranch fishery resources of India CMFRI Special publication CMFRI, Cochin, India. 95 253pp Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/4056/1/Special_Publn_95.pdf
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at - eprints.cmfri.org.in/3975/1/Special_Publication_No_12_Revised.pdf
  • Akhilesh, KV; Ganga, U; Pillai, NGK; Vivekanandan, E; Bineesh, KK; Shanis, CPR and Hashim, M (2011) Deep-sea fishing for chondrichthyan resources and sustainability concerns-a case study from southwest coast of India Indian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences NISCAIR 40(3) 347-355 Available at - nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/.../1/IJMS%2040(3)%20347-355.pdf

Page last updated on:2012-02-17

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