Recently described species found in Baja California

The Cryptic Hornshark (Heterodontus sp. X) is a Bullhead shark belonging to the family Heterodontidae. It is only known from a few specimens examined by J.I. Castro and genetic analysis completed by Gavin Naylor. It was found off of Baja California. It is a rare and relatively new species, so there is not much published data and research. It is similar to the Horn shark. It is brown and lacks any markings.

Recently described species found in Baja California

Family: Heterodontidae – Bullhead Sharks

Genus: Heterodontus 

Species: sp. X


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Infraclass– Euselachii

Superorder– Selachimorpha


Common NameBullhead Sharks

Family– Heterodontidae

Common Name– Bullhead Sharks


Speciessp. X


Average Size and Length: The size and length are unknown. But more than likely they reach on average 3 feet like their family members.

Teeth and Jaw: More than likely, the Cryptic Hornshark has small front teeth are pointy and sharp for grabbing prey and side bottom teeth that are flat, perfect for cracking and grinding shells.

Head: They have a large blunt head, pig-like snout and a low supra-orbital crest gradually sloping behind eyes. There are two small spiracles behind the eyes.

Denticles: The dermal denticles are very similar to those of the Horn shark.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Cryptic Hornshark can be found in the Gulf of California. Jose I. Castro (2011) examined a specimen off of El Barril in Baja California.

Diet: They more than likely feed on small invertebrates and fish.

Ram-Suction Index: Like the other members of its family, the Cryptic Hornshark is more than likely high on the suction side of the index. They more than likely suck in prey and water from rocks and crevices and use their unique different teeth to pierce the prey with its sharp front teeth when the jaw extends, and crush and grind it with its molar like back teeth.

Aesthetic Identification: The Cryptic Hornshark is tan-brownish in color. This shark differs from the Horn shark and from the Mexican Hornshark in that it is lacking the markings and spots both of its family member has. Despite different markings, the Cryptic Hornshark is very similar to the Horn shark. Gavin Naylor completed a genetic analysis and the species are unique. They have two dorsal fins with fin spines and an anal fin.

Biology and Reproduction: More than likely the Cryptic Hornshark is oviparous. All Bullhead sharks lay spiral or auger-shaped eggs in shallow waters, wedging them in rock crannies or kelp for protection against predators. The females wedge them in when they are soft, and after a few days the egg cases harden and are very difficult to move. When the egg cases are soft, they are lighter in color. When they harden, they become a much darker caramel brown color.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Not much is known about the behavioral traits of the Cryptic Hornshark, but we can gather that they, like their relatives, are nocturnal.

Speed: More than likely, they are poor swimmers, sluggish and slow moving just as the other members of their family are. The more than likely use their large pectoral fins to help it walk across the seabed and rocky surfaces and hold on to the rocks when hanging vertically. They probably have the ability to rest motionless on the bottom, while eating and breathing at the same time, like the other members of its family.

Cryptic Hornshark Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate.

Cryptic Hornshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Harmless to humans (unless stressed), the Cryptic Hornshark poses no threat. Their spines can impose a painful wound if not careful.

Castro, J.I.  (2011). “The sharks of north america”.