Tags: Taxonomy,  Angel Sharks 

Angel Sharks

Order: Squatiniformes

Angel Sharks are reminiscent of skates, with flattened bodies. They often hide in the sand, waiting to pounce. Their eyes are on the top of their heads, and their gills are on the ventral, or bottom parts of their body. And their pectoral and pelvic fins are splayed out like flat wings.

Angel Sharks spend much of their time partially buried on the sandy bottom of the ocean hiding in wait for prey. They will then snap up, expand their mouths and grab their prey.

Pacific Angel Fish

Squatina californica

Characteristics of Angel Sharks

# of Species
Body shape
Body flattened top-to-bottom. Eyes on top. Many species grow to 5 feet.
Mouth position
Terminal mouth; blunt snout
Anal fin
Dorsal Fin
Fin spines
# of Gill slits
Ovoviviparous (eggs develop in the mother’s body and are born alive).
Unique qualities
Shape; eyes & spiracle at top of head; fleshy barbels
Marine; from temperate to tropical; bottom dwelling; Eastern and
western Atlantic, southwestern Indian,eastern and western Pacific
oceans; Depths from intertidalto 4,560 feet
Small bony fishes, crustaceans, cephalopods, bivalves, and gastropods

The 19 Species of Angel Shark

Common name
Squatina aculeata
Sawback Angelshark
Squatina africana
African Angelshark
Squatina argentina
Argentine Angelshark
Squatina armata
Chilean Angelshark
Squatina australis
Australian Angelshark
Squatina californica
Pacific Angelshark
Squatina dumeril
Sand Devil
Squatina formosa
Taiwan Angelshark
Squatina guggenheim
Hidden Angelshark
Squatina japonica
Japanese Angelshark
Squatina nebulosa
Clouded Angelshark
Squatina oculata
Smoothback Angelshark
Squatina punctata
Angular Angelshark
Squatina squatina
Squatina tergocellata
Ornate Angelshark
Squatina tergocellatoides
Ocellated Angelshark
Squatina sp. A
Eastern Angelshark
Squatina sp. B
Western Angelshark
Squatina sp.
Cortez Angelshark


Red indicates inclusion on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species