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LATIN NAME: Heterodontus francisci

FAMILY : Heterodontidae

PHYLUM : Chordata

CLASS : Chondrichthyes

The horn shark is a spotted shark that lives in kelp forests. It leads a quiet life, resting on the sea floor. It can be found on sandy or rocky bottoms, between the surface and 150 metres deep. It can also be found hiding in caves and crevices.

The horn shark feeds at night on shellfish, sea urchins, crustaceans and sometimes small fish. Adults grow to between 97 cm and 1.20 metres and weigh around 10 kg.

  • Distribution :

    It lives in the temperate and sub-tropical waters of the Eastern Pacific. It can be found along the coasts of California and down to Mexico, and also along the coasts of Ecuador and Peru.
  • IUCN Status :

    Data deficient.
  • Habitat :

    It lives on the rocky or sandy seabed, in kelp forests, between the surface and 150 metres deep. It can also be found hiding in caves and near crevices.
  • Feeding :

    It feeds at night on shellfish, sea urchins, crustaceans and sometimes small fish.
  • Size :

    It measures between 97 cm and 1.20 metres and weighs around 10 kg.

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Find out more about the Horn shark

The horn shark is brown in colour and has scattered black and brown spots.

This shark is harmless to humans. But anyone hoping to catch one should be careful: its dorsal fins are equipped with poisonous spines.

The horn shark belongs to the family of bullhead sharks, so called because of their short blunt heads with ridges above the eyes.

It is rather inactive and mainly comes to life at night to hunt. It can remain resting on the seabed for several hours, on rocks or hiding in a crevice. It does not swim far, like the nurse shark or the Australian carpet shark.

Horn sharks hunt by hiding in wait until their prey comes within reach.

It has an impressively powerful jaw! This is because of the food it eats: it feeds on crustaceans and shellfish, and so needs to be able to crack open and crush the shells in order to feed.

 

Come and see it! Buy your ticket to meet the horn shark in Space 6, Californian tank

 

Breeding

Find out more about how the horn shark breeds

This is an oviparous, or egg-laying species.

In spring, two weeks after mating the female lays two spiral screw-shaped eggs. This shape helps the egg to lodge inside cracks and crevices.

The eggs are fairly soft and the female horn shark uses her mouth to push them under a rock or into a crack. The egg then hardens and is difficult for a predator to dislodge.

After nine months’ gestation, the young, measuring 15 cm, are born and seek shelter in shallow water.

Activities AT NAUSICAA

EVENTS AT NAUSICAA NOT TO BE MISSED!

Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

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