Heterodontiformes – Bullhead sharks

Unlike most sharks with their rows of identical teeth, these sharks rock a mix of different tooth types

Meet the intriguing group of small, bottom-dwelling sharks known as bullhead sharks or horn sharks. These remarkable creatures are easily distinguished by their unique characteristics, including a snout that bears a striking resemblance to that of a pig, two dorsal fins adorned with sharp spines, and a specialized anal fin. An additional distinguishing feature is their movable eyelids, which are vital in safeguarding their eyes from potential injury.

Within the realm of bullhead sharks, only nine living species exist, all classified under the genus Heterodontus. These sharks inhabit tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, primarily favoring shallow coastal habitats. Their dietary preferences include mollusks, crustaceans, echinoderms, and small fish. Despite their appearance, bullhead sharks pose no significant threat to humans. However, they possess spines on their dorsal fins that can inflict painful injuries if provoked or mishandled.

Bullhead sharks are renowned for their remarkable longevity, with some individuals living for several decades. One of the key factors contributing to the extended lifespan of bullhead sharks is their relatively slow growth rate. Unlike some other species of sharks that experience rapid growth during their early years, bullhead sharks take a more leisurely approach to maturation. This gradual pace of growth allows them to conserve energy and invest in long-term survival. By not rushing into adulthood, they can allocate resources efficiently, ensuring they are better equipped to thrive.