ATLANTA - The Georgia Aquarium released two new great hammerhead sharks into their Ocean Voyager gallery Thursday. And that's big news for the constantly growing water world.
The Aquarium now houses three great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran), giving it the largest collection of the species on display in North America and one of only two aquariums in the country to feature it.
A male and female shark, ranging five to seven feet in length and weighing between 44-89 lbs, were introduced into the 6.3 million gallon exhibit, where they join a male hammerhead shark that has been at Georgia Aquarium since 2005.
The average length for an adult female is 8.2 to 18 feet (2.5 - 5.5 m), while a male is about 7.6 and 11 feet (2.3 - 3.4 m) long. The maximum size recorded for a great hammerhead is 19.7 feet (6 m).
Aquarium spokespeople say, "The hammerheads are an exciting addition to the various species of shark currently on display in Ocean Voyager including zebra sharks, black-tip reef sharks, tasseled wobbegongs, sand tiger sharks and the world's largest fish, whale sharks."
The recently added great hammerhead sharks came from waters surrounding the Florida Keys and were brought to the Georgia Aquarium. The species is found worldwide in temperate areas, favoring coastal areas and continental shelves. In the Atlantic Ocean, they are found from North Carolina south to Uruguay including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
Listed as globally endangered by IUCN, the great hammerhead shark is often subject to over-fishing. While their meat is rarely consumed, their skin is processed into leather and their liver oil is used for vitamins. With the addition of the two new hammerhead sharks, the Georgia Aquarium continues its mission to promote awareness and protection of aquatic animals.