- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna)
The most unique physical characteristic of the scalloped hammerhead shark is the oddly shaped head for which they are named. Scalloped hammerhead sharks have the two long lobes extending from the head that are common with all hammerheads but they also have a large indentation in the center of the head from which they get the moniker “scalloped.” Coloration is brownish gray or olive-gray on the back and side, shading to grayish white on the belly. The pectoral fin may be tipped with gray. They are fast and agile swimmers, feats aided by elongated bodies and head shape. The dorsal fin is tall, though not as tall as that of the giant hammerhead, and the top lobe of the tail fin is 3 to 4 times longer than the bottom lobe. The mouth is relatively small.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks occupy warm coastal waters and tropical seas and inhabit both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as in the Indian Ocean. In the Western Hemisphere they are present from New Jersey to Brazil in the western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, and from southern California to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks are both an inshore and offshore species. When inshore they often gather in large groups around seamounts and reefs. They will also be found in bays, the surf of beaches and tidal shallows. Offshore they are found over the continental shelf and the adjacent deep water up to 900 feet deep. Preferring warm water, scalloped hammerhead sharks are rare in waters at temperatures below 72 F. Although known to form large schools that migrate with the seasons, permanent resident populations also exist.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks spawn in large aggregations. The females form a circle, with the stronger, more mature female members driving the smaller females out of the center. Then the males battle their way into the center, where they pair up with a female and break away from the aggregation to mate. The process seems to insure that the most mature and fertile members of the sexes breed with one another.
When mating, the male wraps himself around the female and holds onto her with his teeth. Many females carry scars from these encounters. After a 12-month gestation period pups are born live in litters of 15 to 30.
Scalloped hammerhead sharks are strong and hard fighting fish that make long, fast runs when hooked. They are widely fished commercially, both as a targeted species and as a utilized bycatch. They are valued for their meat as well as their fins, skin and oil, which is used for vitamins. At present, biologists have not ascertained whether the high catch levels of this species pose a threat to the population, either regionally or worldwide.
� At one time the U.S. Navy listed the hammerhead sharks as the third most dangerous shark after great whites and tiger sharks. Now the list reads great white, bull, then tiger shark. Experts believe any hammerhead shark attacks on humans are defensive in nature.
� Female scalloped hammerhead sharks have a unique ritual for establishing dominance amongst themselves: an individual performs a “corkscrew” spin, then flips over, exposing their white underside. Biologists speculate that the glare from light reflecting off the skin causes other females to cower.