Angel shark

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Angel sharks
Temporal range: 161–0Ma[1]
Oxfordian to Present
The Angel shark, Squatina squatina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Squatiniformes
Buen, 1926
Family: Squatinidae
Bonaparte, 1838
Genus: Squatina
A. M. C. Duméril, 1806
Type species
Squalus squatina
Linnaeus, 1758

An angel shark is a species of cartilaginous fish in the genus Squatina, which have flattened bodies and wide pectoral fins that make them look similar to rays. Twenty-three species are known to exist in the genus, which is the only one in its family, Squatinidae, and order Squatiniformes. They are found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas. Most species are found living in shallow temperate or tropical seas, but one species is found in deeper water, down to 1,300 metres. [2]

Discription and biology[change | change source]

While the front part of the Angel sharks' bodies are wide and flattened, the back part is more muscular. The eyes and spiracles are on the top, and the five gill slits are on its back. Both the pectoral fins and the pelvic fins are large and are held horizontally. There are two dorsal fins, no anal fin, and unusually for sharks, the lower lobe of the caudal fin is longer than the upper lobe. Most types of Angel sharks grow to a length of about 1.5 metres, with the Japanese angelshark known to reach 2 metres. [3] Angel sharks have extensible jaws which can quickly snap upwards to capture prey, and they have long, needle-like teeth. They bury themselves in sand or mud lying in wait for prey, which includes fish, crustaceans, and many different types of mollusks.[2] They are ovoviviparous, and can have up to 13 pups at a time.

Behavior[change | change source]

Although Angel sharks are bottom dwellers and appear harmless, they can give painful bites if provoked, due to their powerful jaws and sharp teeth. Angel sharks may bite if a diver approaches the head or grabs the tail.[4]

Species[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bourdon, J. (2009). Genera from the Fossil Record: Squatina. The Life and Times of Long Dead Sharks. Retrieved on July 8, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stevens, J. & Last, P.R. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N.. ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 64–65. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
  3. "FAMILY Details for Squatinidae-Angel sharks". fishbase.org. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.php?Family=Squatinidae. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  4. Best, Cathleen. "Florida Museum of Natural History." PACIFIC ANGEL SHARK. (Date accessed 06/23/2010) <http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/gallery/descript/pacificangelshark/pacificangelshark.html>.