Today’s Fishy Friday photo is brought to you by the bonnet-head shark, which is the smallest member of the hammerhead genus. At first I thought I was just seeing a young hammerhead shark, but then realized (after looking at different information plaques) that it was actually a smaller member of the hammerhead family.

The bonnet-head shark is native to the waters off the coasts of North America, and can be found as far south as Ecuador.

Bonnet-head shark swimming in the large tank.

What are some cool facts about sharks in general?

They are fish that are characterized by having a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of their heads, and their pectoral fins aren’t fused to their heads.

They can see colors and have very good night vision.

Sharks have been around at least 455 million years.

The two largest fish belong to the shark family: whale sharks (can weigh up to 40 tons) and basking sharks (can grow 32 feet & weigh over 5 tons).

Bonnet head shark from “below”

Some interesting facts about the bonnet-head shark:

This is the only shark species known to be omnivorous (they eat sea grass along with crustaceans).

If they quit swimming they’d sink to ocean floor.

The females can reproduce via asexual reproduction (parthenogenesis).

Usually the female gives birth to eight to twelve baby sharks. The survival rate of the young depends on their size and what predators are in the area.

They forage during the night, and during the day they’re swimming in the deeper waters.

They’re usually in small groups; though they can get together into larger groups ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand.

They’re not aggressive towards humans (mainly due to their small size and shy nature).

Now I need to go back through some older pictures to see if I’ve managed to get pictures of any other sharks that were also in the tank (and within other exhibits). Another goal is to go to other aquariums and see what sharks they are housing. I’d love to be able to see a whale shark in the wild.