The Wild Side – Bonnethead Shark

Bonnethead Shark Information & Facts

This might go without saying, but here at Stuffed Safari we love animals.  Not just the stuffed ones either.  Everyone who works here has at least one pet, and most of us have more than one.  When we’re not busy selling stuffed animals, we love to learn about the real-life counterparts to the plush toys we sell.  Today we will be taking a dive with the bonnethead shark.  This post is packed with bonnethead shark information.  These fascinating creatures are very like their cousins, the hammerhead shark.  In fact, they come from the genus (Sphyrna).  Bonnetheads are known to swim around in the more tropical regions of the planet.

bonnethead shark information

Behavior

Like their hammerhead cousins, bonnethead sharks typically swim in small schools of between 12 and 15 individuals.  However, schools numbering in the hundreds and even thousands have been reported.  Migrating constantly, these sharks like to stay where the water is warmest.  Because these sharks rank among the negatively buoyant of marine vertebrates, they sink if they are not in motion.  This is why they prefer shallow waters and can oftentimes be found on or near the ocean floor.

Diet

Crustaceans like crabs and shrimp comprise the bulk of a bonnethead shark’s diet.  Patrolling the ocean floor using electroreception to detect disturbances, these sharks bite right into the sediment.  As a result, they digest a large amount of seagrass which makes up around 50% of its diet.  While these creatures are still categorized as carnivorous fish, arguments to them being omnivorous can be made as they are able to digest more than half of the matter in seagrass.

Reproduction

Here’s some bonnethead shark information you might find interesting.  Bonnetheads stand alone among sharks in several aspects.  They have one of the shortest gestation period among sharks, giving birth after only 4.5 to 5 months.  They are viviparous and give birth to live young (as opposed to laying eggs) and the females can produce offspring through parthenogenesis.  That means they can reproduce without the need of fertilization.  This is not exclusively the case in the wild, as record of this birth occurred within captivity at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska.

Appearance

While not as hammer/anvil shaped as their shark cousins, bonnethead sharks have a strange morphism involving their heads.  Called bonnethead for the rounded shape and unusual eye placement, scientist speculate this helps give them better agility and mobility while swimming or hunting.  Sexual dimorphism between male and female is evident in this species.  Females have a broadly rounded head while the males have a bulge along the anterior of their heads.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of The Wild Side with bonnethead shark information.  While these sharks account for more than half of all small shark landings in the Eastern United States, these sharks are not as popular as you might think.  We only have one plush companion to represent this unique shark, but we’re very fond of the Stuffed Bonnethead Shark Conservation Critter by Wildlife Artists.  Take a look and see if this shark is one you’d like to have of your own.

I hope you enjoyed this step into The Wild Side with bonnethead shark information.  You can read about the other shark species featured in our 2017 Shark Safari here.  Subscribe to our blog to explore more animals in the future.  Feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.  And, as always, thank you for reading.

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