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Synonyms
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  • Squatina vulgaris  Risso, 1810
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  • Squatina angelus  Blainville, 1816
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  • Squatina laevis  Cuvier, 1817
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  • Squatina lewis  Couch, 1825
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  • ? Squalraia acephala  de la Pylaie, 1835
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  • Squatina europaea  Swainson, 1839
    FAO Names
    En - Angelshark, Fr - Ange de mer commun, Sp - Angelote.
    3Alpha Code: AGN     Taxonomic Code: 1090300401
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Squalus squatina  Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, 1: 233. Holotype: Unknown. Type Locality: "Oceano Europaeo."
    Diagnostic Features
    fieldmarks: An angel shark with a broad trunk, simple, conical nasal barbels and smooth or weakly fringed anterior nasal flaps, dermal flaps on sides of head with an angular lobe, very high broad pectoral fins, and no ocelli on body.

    Trunk very broad. Anterior nasal barbels simple and with a spatulate tip; posterior margin of anterior nasal flaps between nasal barbels and tips weakly fringed; distance from eye to spiracle over 1.5 times eye diameter; dermal folds on sides of head with a single triangular lobe.  Pectoral fins very high and broad, with broadly rounded rear tips. Small spines present or absent on midline of back and tail from head to dorsal fins and between the fin bases, and patches of small spines on snout and above eyes;  lateral trunk denticles with very narrow, sharp-cusped crowns.  Colour: no ocelli on body. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Eastern North Atlantic: Southern Norway, Sweden and Shetland Island to Morocco and West Sahara, Canary Islands, Mediterranean.
    Habitat and Biology
    A temperate-water bottom-dwelling angel shark of the European and North African continental shelves, on or near the bottom from close inshore to at least 150 m depth.This shark prefers mud or sandy bottom, where it lies buried with hardly more than its eyes protruding.It is nocturnal and can be found swimming strongly up off the bottom, but is torpid in the daytime and rests on the bottom.In the northern parts of its range the angelshark is seasonally migratory, and makes northwards incursions during the summer.
    This shark is ovoviviparous, with moderate-sized litters of 9 to 20 young.  The angelshark feeds primarily on bony fishes, especially flatfishes but also other demersal fishes and skates, crustaceans and molluscs.
    Size
    Maximum total length at least 183 cm and possibly to 244 cm; adult males reaching 183 cm, females maturing at 126 to 167 cm; size at birth about 24 to 30 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    The interest to fisheries of this species is limited. Catches have been reported to FAO, since 1989, only from Tunisia in area 37 (Mediterranean and Black Sea) and have never exceeded 55 t. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 25 t. The countries with the largest catches were Tunisia (25 t). Caught in bottom trawls.
    Utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and possibly for oil and fishmeal.

    The angel shark is fished throughout European and Mediterranean waters mostly as a bycatch. Tettard (1989) reports that some 20 t/y of this species are landed on average since 1974 by French trawl fisheries. However, there is little information on catches in other countries and there is no information on the impact of fisheries for this species.

    Conservation Status : There is no information on the conservation status of the angel shark. However, a similar species of the same genus occurring off California (Squatina californica) was found to have a relatively low intrinsic rebound potential (Smith et al. 1998). Given its demersal habits the angel shark is easily caught by trawl fisheries. All this makes the angel shark a good candidate for being easily overfished, thus special care should be taken to assure its conservation.
    related Additional information from IUCN database
    related Additional information from CITESdatabase
    Remarks
    Threat to humans: Angelsharks have strong jaws and needle teeth, and can bite painfully when accosted. They are not regarded as particularly dangerous, however, because of their small size (most below 1.5 m).
    Source of Information
    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. Compagno, L.J.V. 1984.  FAO Fish. Synop., (125) Vol.4, Part 1
    Bibliography
    Bigelow & Schroeder, (1948)
    Compagno, (1981)
    Garman, (1913)
    Wheeler, (1978)
     
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