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California HornShark


The California Hornshark is also known as Horn Shark.

California Horn Shark




    Scientific Name.... Heterodontus Francisci
    Family Name
    ...... Hornshark


  • General Information: The California hornshark is one of the nine living species of the family known as bullhead, horn, or Port Jackson sharks, and are named for the spine in front of each dorsal fin. The sharks of this family are unmistakable, with their blunt foreheads, pig-like snouts and broad eye ridges.


  • Size: The maximum length reported was 4 feet, but generally most adults are less than 3 feet.


  • Teeth: Their scientific name Heterodontus means "mixed-tooth", which refers to the small pointed teeth at the front of the jaw and the blunt teeth at the rear. Unlike most sharks that have only pointy cutting teeth.


  • Color: California hornsharks have small dark spots on tan or gray body and fins.


  • Feeding Habits: Having molariform teeth, the california hornshark can grab soft-bodied fish and crustaceans, and crush sea urchins and shellfish that they prefer.


  • Social Behaviour: They are nocturnal. Hides in crevices or caves during the day and venturing out to feed at night.


  • Habitat | Migration | Distribution: They range from Central California, USA, to the Gulf of California. This species prefer to live in cool to shallow waters, resting among large rocks, kelp beds and at the base of boulders.


  • Life Span: Unknown.


  • Reproduction: The hornshark is oviparous, a reproductive mode whereby embryos mature in egg cases external to the mother. Egg cases, sometimes called mermaids pursues, are spiral in shape, much like a corkscrew, and this shark may be the only species to exhibit any form of parental care in that the mother will carry the egg case in her mouth and screw it under rocks and into crevices presumably for protection from egg predators. These egg cases each contain a single embryo and hatch after 6 to 10 months.


  • Swimming: They may swim freely , but is usually seen sluggish moving along the bottom on its muscular pectoral fins. Sitting placidly on the bottom, they defy the commonly held belief that all sharks must swim in order to be able to breathe.


  • Population Report: Not uncommon.

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