One shark that is always incorrectly named
The Angular angelshark (Squatina punctata) is a shark belonging to the family Squatinidae found off southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. The Angular angelshark is correctly named S. punctate. It has been confused, and incorrectly named S. guggenheim. It is a separate species, and this is the correct classification. They are endangered due to heavy targeting by fisheries with extreme population decline in Brazil.
Family: Squatinidae – Angel Sharks
Common Name– Angel Sharks or Angelsharks
Average Size and Length: They are born around 9.8 inches. Mature sharks are typically between 2.3-2.6 feet. The maximum recorded length has been 3 feet.
Teeth and Jaw: They have expendable necks and trap-like jaws that can quickly snap upwards and hinge shut. They have long, needle-like teeth in the upper and in the lower jaws used for gripping.
Head: The nasal barbels have expanded, but slightly spatulate, un-fringed tips. The anterior nasal flaps are weakly fringed. There are no triangular lobes on the lateral head folds. The head area between the eyes is broadly concave. The eye-spiracle space is less than 1.5 times the eye length.
Denticles: There are short, stout thorns in symmetrical groups on the snout, the interorbital space, and a pair between the spiracles, and a median dorsal row of spines.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Angular angelshark can be found in the southwest Atlantic from southern Brazil to Uruguay and Argentina. They are found on the continental shelf from 33-262 feet. Female Angular sharks will migrate to shallower coastal waters in the spring to give birth. Juveniles will remain inshore throughout the entire year.
Diet: They eat demersal fish and shrimp.
Ram-Suction Index: They have an RSI more towards the suction end of the scale. They lay flat and still on the bottom, when the time comes, they lung at prey and suck it into their mouths with negative pressure.
Aesthetic Identification: The Angular angelshark is uniform dark tan dorsally, and pale ventrally. The dorsal surface has small, irregular dark spots present, or sometimes absent in live sharks, but they turn white with fixation. There is a regular pattern of several small to large blackish spots without ocelli. The pectoral fins are small, high and angular with nearly straight anterior margins.
Biology and Reproduction: The Angular angelshark is ovoviviparous having between 3-8 pups per litter, but typically 5 or 6. The pups develop in the uteri for 4 months, then they move into greatly enlarged cloaca for the remainder of the 11-month gestation period.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: The Angular angelshark lies buried on the muddy bottom waiting and ready to ambush prey. They can remain still on the bottom for extremely long and extended periods of time.
Angular angelsharks have a unique way of breathing compared to most other benthic sharks and fish. They do not pump out water from the oropharyngeal cavity. Instead, they use gill flaps located on the sides of their head to pump out water during respiration. Doing so also allows them to be more unnoticeable and prevent detection from unwanted predators.
Angular Angelshark Future and Conservation: The Angular angelshark is endangered. They are targeted, and taken by commercial fisheries and are considered extremely valuable. They are also taken as bycatch. There is a very large decline in Brazil.
Angular Angelshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Angular angelsharks aren’t dangerous to humans unless provoked. Because of their powerful jaws and sharp teeth, they can inflict injury on anyone or anything that may pose a threat to them. There have been cases of Angel sharks biting divers that have tried to restrain them, approach too close to the head, corner them, or grab their tails.