Scalloped hammerhead sharks can be distinguished from most other species of hammerheads by the shape of their heads, which have distinct indentations close to the eyes. The Greek word
“sphyrna” means “hammer”, referring to the shape of this shark’s head, which is its most distinguishing characteristic.
The fins of scalloped hammerheads are also much shorter and more rounded than their close relatives, the great hammerheads, and can be useful features for identification when the shape of the head is not visible. Considered mostly a migratory near-shore species, females move into shallow waters to give birth but spend most of their adult lives offshore. Juveniles spend many years in shallow, coastal waters in habitats such as mangroves, estuaries. In some regions of the world, such as the Galapagos, scalloped hammerheads form huge schools.