Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Squatiniformes
(Angel sharks) > Squatinidae
Etymology: Squatina: Latin, squatina, -ae = a kind of shark (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 5 - 150 m (Ref. 247). Temperate; 63°N - 21°N, 19°W - 37°E
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 126 - 169 cm
Max length : 183 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 247); 244.0 cm TL (female); common length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. ); max. published weight: 80.0 kg (Ref. 35388)
Morphology | Morphometrics
(total): 0. Broad flattened body, with enlarged pectoral and pelvic fins, no anal fin. Eyes and large spiracles dorsally. Gill openings at the sides of the head. The mouth is terminal. Coloration variable, from grey to reddish or greenish-brown with scattered small white spots and blackish dots dorsally (Ref. 78469). No ocelli on body (Ref. 247).
Northeast Atlantic: southern Norway, Sweden and Shetland Islands to Morocco and West Sahara, including the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (Ref. 247). Range and abundance declining severly throughout its range; proposed legal protection in Britain (Ref.58085). Appendix III (Mediterranean) of the Bern Convention (2002). Annex V of the OSPAR Convention (2010).
A benthic species that occurs inshore, on coasts and along the continental shelf; may enter estuaries (Ref. 247, 58085). Found mainly on sand or mud bottoms; sluggish by day, lying buried with eyes protruding. Also utilizes areas with macroalgae, kelp or rocks (Ref. 88920). Nocturnal species, swims off bottom at night. Feeds mainly on flatfishes and other benthic fishes, but also on skates, crustaceans and molluscs, with one record of swallowed cormorant (Ref. 247, 28070). Moves to deeper waters during winter, returning to the shallower depths in the spring (Ref. 88187), moving northwards in summer. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). Females generally grow larger than males (Ref. 58137). Detects weak electric fields generated by other organisms (e.g. potential prey) (Ref. 10311). Utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and possibly for oil and fishmeal (Ref. 247). Reaches 250 cm (Ref. 35388).
Ovoviviparous, produce 7-25 pups/litter, with litter number increasing with female size; gestation 8-10 months (born Dec-Feb in Mediterranean, July in England), size at birth about 24-30 cm TL (Ref. 58085). Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Full term embryos weighed 189-200 g; no egg capsules found around ova or embryos; a biannual reproductive cycle is likely the case for this species (Ref. 32746).
Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/1):1-249. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 247)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00871 (0.00369 - 0.02053), b=3.02 (2.80 - 3.24), based on LWR estimates for this species & Family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.1 ±0.5 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Fec=9-20).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (85 of 100) .