THE HAMMERHEAD SHARK PUPS
new attraction with marty and gloglo 2008
A new tank has been built at Cattolica Aquarium for the hammerhead shark pups. Just a few months old, born in captivity and therefore not taken away from their natural environment, they are the new stars of the aquarium. In perfect condition, they are constantly monitored by our staff, after their successful journey from far-off Florida. The commitment of Cattolica Aquarium and its desire to continue its mission of enhancing awareness about these splendid creatures comes from its intense collaboration with other aquariums so as to avoid taking them directly from their marine habitat.
The stars of the tank:
Marty: The first hammerhead shark pup to arrive at Cattolica Aquarium, now 70 cm long and swimming contentedly around the reef provided for him. With the classic head shape of the Bonnethead Shark, Marty is now 1 year and 7 months old, immediately becoming the tank’s biggest celebrity. Lively and full of energy, Marty attentively searches through every nook and cranny of his reef with great curiosity.
Gloglo: The female hammerhead shark pup who occupies the same space as Marty. Just 6 months old, Gloglo is now 50 cm long, but she’s not scared of size. Bold, adventurous and full of life, Gloglo moves confidently in the new surroundings on the lookout for food and happy to share the tank with her big brother.
So Cattolica Aquarium’s waiting for you to let you meet Marty and Gloglo.
Some information about these animals:
The head of the hammerhead shark is flattened horizontally and broadens at the sides to form two extensions, which together make up the so-called “hammer” shape. These extensions are composed of muscular and connective tissue supported by cartilage. The eyes, located at the ends of the two extensions, are spaced very widely apart, while the nostrils can be seen along the front edge. The teeth are not very large, and depending on the species they can be erect or oblique, with smooth or finely serrated edges.
Origin and functions of the head
Scientists have debated the functions of the distinctive shape of the head of hammerhead sharks for many years. It now seems clear that there may be many reasons for this “hammer” shape, linked with movement and hunting.
The profile of the hammer extensions is similar to an aircraft wing, with the lower surface flat and the upper one with a convex curve. This organ must have significant functions for movement, as hammerhead sharks are reasonably agile and fast. As mentioned earlier, the nostrils are located at the ends of the hammer-shaped extensions, and are therefore more widely spaced than can normally be seen in other sharks. When a hammerhead shark follows a scent trail, the oscillation movement of the head and the position of the nostrils can be useful in identifying the trail and not losing it. The further apart the nostrils are positioned, the more functional this mechanism becomes. The eyes are also very widely distanced, and vision is therefore stereoscopic.
Habits and behaviour
Hammerhead sharks have a developed brain, which is perhaps associated with the capacity to lead an advanced social life. The most surprising aspect of the sociality of hammerhead sharks is undoubtedly linked with their capacity to form large schools. Although sharks of both sexes and of different sizes are present in these schools, young females with a length of about 1.7 metres are the most numerous. These communicate using a precise body language, competing to occupy the position of greatest importance at the centre of the school.