An Angel shark so beautiful, it almost looks painted

The Clouded angelshark (Squatina nebulosa) is a shark belonging to the family Squatinidae found in the northwest Pacific from the southeastern Sea of Japan to Taiwan between latitudes 47° N and 22° N. They are considered vulnerable. Their beautiful black and white spots appear as clouds, but making them perfectly camouflaged among the bottom sand and mud waiting to ambush prey.


Family: Squatinidae – Angel Sharks

Genus: Squatina

Species: nebulosa


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Infraclass– Euselachii

Superorder– Selachimorpha


Common NameAngel Sharks or Angelsharks

Family– Squatinidae

Common Name– Angel Sharks or Angelsharks




Average Size and Length: The maximum recorded length is 5.3 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 taper. They are weakly fringed or have smooth anterior nasal flaps. The head folds are lateral with two triangular lobes on each side. There are large eyes, and the eye-spiracle space is less than 1.5 times the eye length.

Denticles: There are no enlarged thorns.  

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Clouded angelshark can be found in the northwest Pacific Ocean. They can be found over continental shelves and upper slopes inshore. They can be found down to 1,083 feet. They are considered demersal.

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 Clouded angelshark is brownish to bluish-black with scattered light spots and numerous black dots. There is a large, rounded dark spots at the base of the pectoral fins. There are dark blotches below the dorsal fins. The ocelli are either completely absent, or there are small, scattered and obscure ones (there are light rings with dark centers). The ventral side is pale, with darker pectoral fin margins. The dorsal fin margins are light. The pectoral fins are low, broad, obtuse and posteriorly rounded.

Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known about the biology or reproduction, but they are presumably ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: The Clouded 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.

Clouded 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.

Clouded Angelshark Future and Conservation: They are considered vulnerable. Their meat is valued by commercial fisheries.

Clouded Angelshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Clouded 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.