Trophic ecology of the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna Zygaena) off the coast of northern Peru

Adriana Gonzalez-Pestana, Nicolas Acuña-Perales, Javier Coasaca-Cespedes, Francisco Cordova-Zavaleta, Joanna Alfaro-Shigueto, Jeffrey C. Mangel, Pepe Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) is the third most captured shark species in Peru, a nation with one of the largest shark fisheries in the Pacific Ocean. We sought to better understand the trophic ecology of this shark in northern Peru by analyzing stomach contents. From 2013 through 2015, we collected 485 samples of gut contents from sharks measuring 53-294 cm in total length. Our results show that the smooth hammerhead is a top predator with a diet dominated by jumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas) and the Patagonian squid (Doryteuthis (Amerigo) gahi). Smooth hammerheads displayed different diets with different body size, and this finding indicates that sharks change their distribution and habitat during development. This study represents the most comprehensive investigation to date of the trophic ecology of smooth hammerhead in waters off Peru. We propose that these waters represent an important eastern Pacific Ocean feeding ground for smooth hammerhead. Because this species is commercially important and also preys upon other commercial species, these findings could contribute to the design and implementation of plans for ecosystembased fisheries management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-459
Number of pages9
JournalFishery Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


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