Animals

Angelshark Facts

Angelshark facts are fun to know.
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This species of angelsharks are a member of the genus Angelshark. There are over 15 species in this genus and they belong to the family Squatinidae of the order Squatiniformes. Once commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, these nocturnal bottom-dwelling sharks have suffered a huge decline in their global population. They are the only angelshark species found around the British Isles coast. As a whole, the Squatinidae family has been listed as the second most threatened of all sharks and rays in the world. In the last 50 to 100 years, their population has declined more than 80% and this can mostly be attributed to human activities.

This species has a flat body and wide pectoral fins which look like rays or skates. They use their fins to dig sand and bury themselves on the ocean floor. Ambush predators by nature, they silently wait for prey and once the prey is within close range, they launch a sudden attack.

Learn more about these amazing sharks, and if you like this article, check out requiem shark and sandbar shark facts too.

Angelshark

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small fish, crustaceans, skates, and mollusks

What do they eat?

Carnivores

Average litter size?

7-25

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

4.1-7.3 ft (126-224 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Gray with white and black spots

Skin Type

Scales

What are their main threats?

Humans

What is their conservation status?

Critically Endangered

Where you'll find them

Inshore sandy beaches and estuaries

Locations

Norway to Mauritania, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Canary Islands

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Chondrichthyes

Scientific Name

Squatina squatina

Family

Squatinidae

Genus

Squatina

Angelshark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an angelshark?

The angelshark is a nocturnal, bottom-dwelling, flat shark of the Angel shark genus.

What class of animal does an angelshark belong to?

These sharks belong to the class Chondrichthyes and order Squatiniformes of animals.

How many angelsharks are there in the world?

This species is classified as Critically Endangered and they have disappeared from many of their original habitats. The exact number of these sharks that are left on this planet cannot be ascertained.

Where does an angelshark live?

This shark species were common in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, the Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. They were also found in the range of Norway to Morocco. Currently, these sharks are commonly seen in the Canary Islands and few other places like Turkey, Wales, Greece, and Ireland.  

What is an angelshark's habitat?

Angelsharks prefer the muddy and sandy bottom of the ocean and sea. They can be seen in inshore waters and are also spotted along the continental shelf.

Who do angelsharks live with?

Not much research has been done on these sharks particularly due to their scarcity in nature. However, since they are one of the 22 species of sharks in the Angelshark family, it can be assumed that like most other members of that family, they too are solitary creatures.

How long does an angelshark live?

The exact lifespan of this species is not known, but these sharks seem to have a short lifespan.  

How do they reproduce?

Angelsharks are not capable of reproducing throughout the year unlike other members of the genus. Males of this species are capable of fertilizing females only during a particular period. They are viviparous animals and reproduction occurs as young ones develop inside females for about eight to 10 months. Females lay pups in batches of seven to 25 depending on their size. In the Mediterranean region, the pups are born around December to February while in England they are born around July.

What is their conservation status?

This species of angelshark has been classified as Critically Endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List owing to their drastic disappearance from some of their original habitats. They are the second most threatened species of sharks in the whole world. The United States Endangered Species Act or ESA also protects these sharks. They are also protected in the Mediterranean where fishing them is illegal.

Angelshark Fun Facts

What do angelsharks look like?

The angelshark (Squatina squatina) is a medium-sized shark. They are nocturnal in nature and dwell at the bottom of water bodies, typically in areas that are covered in sand or mud. These sharks are grayish in color while the backside of their body is greenish-brown. They have small black and white spots scattered across the body and a white nuchal spot could be present. The front of the body is flattened and the rear is like most sharks. The wide pectoral fins look like skates and rays.. The bodies of their young ones could be covered in white reticulations and dark blotches.  All the species of the angel shark family have nine rows of teeth in the upper jaw and 10 rows of teeth in the lower jaw.

The angelshark is an ambush predator.

How cute are they?

These predatory sharks cannot be considered cute. There have been instances where these sharks have attacked and bitten scuba divers.

How do they communicate?

Not much research has been conducted on how angelsharks communicate. However, since they are sharks, it can be assumed that they communicate the same way as most sharks. Sharks are known to communicate using their senses of hearing, sight, smell, and electro-perception. Some sharks are known to communicate by arching their bodies. They communicate to look for suitable mates and to interact with other members of the family.

How big is an angelshark?

Angelshark males and females can grow up to different sizes. The average length of these sharks is about 4.1-7.3 ft (126-224 cm). Tiger sharks, also known as hunter sharks, are more than twice the length of these sharks. Tiger sharks range between 10-16 ft (304.8-487.68 cm).

How fast can an angelshark swim?

These nocturnal animals are fast swimmers during the night when they are most active, but their exact speed is not known.

How much does an angelshark weigh?

Not much research has been conducted on the exact weight of these sharks. These are medium-sized animals of the sea or ocean who prey on smaller sea animals.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female counterparts of this species do not have distinct names.

What would you call a baby angelshark?

A baby angelshark is called a pup.

What do they eat?

These animals are carnivores and feed on mollusks, flatfishes, skates, and crustaceans. These sharks can sense the electric fields produced by their prey.

Are they dangerous?

They are ambush predators who use their camouflaging ability to launch an attack on their prey. They use their pectoral fins to dig the sand and stay quietly buried until they spot their prey. They launch a sudden attack on the prey. There are also records of these fish biting humans, and so they can be considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

These sharks are animals of the wild. Although several efforts and measures are being taken to restore their global population and find ways of captive breeding, it is advisable to not keep them as pets.

Did you know...

They practice seasonal migration and move to the north in summer.

Even though an angelshark is able to camouflage and hide from predators, they are still eaten by other sharks like great white sharks, broadnose sevengill sharks and also humans.

What are the different types of angelsharks?

The species Squatina squatina is a member of the genus Squatina and family Squatinidae, which comprises more than 22 different species of angel sharks. Other members of the family include the African angelshark, the clouded angelshark, the Japanese angelshark, the Pacific angelshark, and the Argentine angelshark. These species of angel sharks differ in size and geographical range but have flat bodies and large pectoral fins which look like rays.

Why are angelsharks endangered?

Angelshark fish have faced a huge decline in population mainly because of excessive fishing in areas of their habitat. Angelshark fish often get caught as bycatch or in the bottom of fishing gear as they live close to the sea or ocean floor. Fisheries also pose a huge threat to these sharks.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including Oceanic whitetip shark, or basking shark.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our baby shark coloring pages.

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