The smalleye hammerhead shark Sphyrna tudes,
often called golden hammerhead because of its golden coloring.
The smalleye hammerhead shark, or golden hammerhead as he is called in the only documentary film ever
made of him, belongs to the rare species of hammerheads. The "film name" is attributed to its colorful
Not much data is available on smalleye hammerheads
because they have not yet been scientifically researched. As with all other hammerheads this species
also has the prominently formed hammer-like head.
The most important characteristic of this hammerhead species includes its striking head
shape, golden coloration and - compared to its relatives - very small eyes which also account for its
name. Compared with other hammerhead species, this
shark has a prolonged second dorsal fin and anal fin.
The maximum size of these animals is about 1.5 meters long, relatively small when compared to the
largest representative of its family known as the great hammerhead (Sphyrma mokaran) which can reach
lengths up to 6 meters.
It seems that smalleye hammerheads prefer to feed on small fish, however, a few stomach
analyses have shown that they apparently also eat newborn scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini) in
addition to softshelled animals.
Although its reproductory habits are relatively poorly researched, we do know that, as
with other hammerheads, they are viviparous and have a yolksac placenta. Females reach sexual maturity
after reaching a length of approx. 120 cm, males at 110 cm. The smallest pups seen to date were 30 cm
long as they were captured, which presumably is their approximate size at birth.
Smalleye hammerheads prefer the flatter regions (up to 12 m) of the Continental Shelf in
tropical and subtropical regions. Their populations appear to be limited to the East coast of South
America, from Venezuela to Uruguay.
Once again we do not know enough about this species. Earlier research results turned out to
be misleading because the initial description better matched the very similar species known as the
whitefin hammerhead (Sphyrna couardi) rather than the smalleye hammerhead.
Smalleye hammerheads pose no threat to humans because of their size.
May be published only by indicating the source: Shark Info / Dr. Erich K. Ritter