Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 777–794 | Cite as

The biology and conservation status of the large hammerhead shark complex: the great, scalloped, and smooth hammerheads

  • Austin J. GallagherEmail author
  • A. Peter Klimley


Hammerhead sharks are among the most intriguing yet imperiled groups of large sharks globally. Until recently, our understanding of their biology, movements, diet, and life histories was challenged by a lack of studies. In recent years there has been a surge of published studies on this group of sharks, incorporating new information on age and growth, behavior, and the threats they face. Here we summarize and compare what is known on the biology and conservation of the three largest species of hammerhead sharks: the great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), and the smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena). We chose these species since they are the most well-studied of the hammerheads, and also because they are commonly captured in target and non-target fisheries worldwide. Thus, we also discuss population trends and the vulnerabilities of each species, and make recommendations for future studies on these fascinating and complex elasmobranch fishes.


Fisheries Great Hammerhead Scalloped Shark Smooth 



We thank our various colleagues who assisted with data requests to help advance this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beneath the Waves, Inc.HerndonUSA
  2. 2.Marine Ecosystems and Society, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  3. 3.Biotelemetry Laboratory, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of California, DavisDavisUSA

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