Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci) – San Diego, California
While my Horn Shark photos are just from San Diego, the horn shark is native to the Pacific coast of North America, off California and Mexico. It likes to stay at the sea bottom in shallow waters, mostly from 7 to 35 ft, moving to deeper waters in winter. They’re not graceful swimmers and don’t move around like their streamlined family—in fact, sometimes horn sharks use their strong pectoral fins to crawl along rocks. Maybe their lack of grace is why I like them so much. I can relate. 😀
The scientific name Heterodontus is the Greek word for “different teeth.” The teeth lining the front of the horn shark’s jaws are sharp and used for grasping prey; the teeth in the back are flat and molar-like, useful for crushing shellfish. The common name “horn” refers to the spines in front of each dorsal fin.
Females lay spiral egg cases, which they wedge into crevices—this makes the egg cases stay put. Each egg case contains one pup, which takes between six and nine months to hatch. They can grow to 3-4 feet on average. I affectionately refer to the juveniles as “squeak toys”…I swear if they could talk it would be a squeak. 😀 Oh and they are pretty much one of the cutest little things you’ll ever see.