Angel Sharks
Squatina squatina
Diagonal view of the common angel shark (credits to ARKive)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Subclass Elasmobranchii
Superorder Selachimorpha
Order Squatiniformes
Family Squatinidae
Genus Squatina
Other attributes
Time Range 163.5-0 mya
Location Worldwide
Name Meaning A kind of shark
Physical Dimensions 2.4 meters long (largest species)
Dietary Classification Carnivore

The angel sharks are a successful genus of widespread cartilaginous fish from the Late Jurassic-Holocene of the entire world. They were named in 1806 by André Marie Constant Duméril. They are one of the few animals to be called "living fossils" (due to surviving up until now), and have a body plan very different from those of other sharks.


Angel sharks are unique cartilaginous fish. They have a body plan with features of sharks and rays, with a flattened, triangular body, large, wing-like pectoral fins, a long tail with 2 dorsal fins and an upturned, triangular caudal fin big jaws, and eyes on the top of its flattened head. Their bodies are covered in scaly skin.


Angel sharks are predators, preying on bony fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. Their large jaws are capable of extending in order to snap up prey, and their long, needle-like teeth are used to cut into their food.


Angel sharks are nocturnal, and hide under the sand during the day; it is only at night that they come out of hiding in order to feed. Once they find a suitable place to hunt, they will dig back into the sand and wait for any unsuspecting fish to swim by; once it does, they will lunge upward, open their mouth quickly in order to create a vortex that sucks the fish in, and swallow it whole. Despite their lifestyle, angel sharks are migratory, moving northwards during summer and southwards during winter. As well as this, they are ovoviviparous, having pups develop in eggs inside their body until they are ready to hatch; angel shark litters can consist of up to 13 pups.

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