Family: Squatinidae – Angel Sharks
Common Name– Angel Sharks or Angelsharks
Average Size and Length: One female measured 2.1 feet.
Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is very wide and placed terminally. They have expendable necks and trap-like jaws that can rapidly 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 are strongly, but finely fringed. The anterior nasal flaps are strongly fringed. The lateral head folds have 2 low, rounded lobes on each side. The area between the eyes is concave.
Denticles: There are no enlarged predorsal thorns on the back.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Ocellated angelshark can be found in the northwest Pacific in the Taiwan Straits (28°N – 22°N, 118°E – 122°E). They are demersal and prefer subtropical climates.
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 Ocellated angelshark is broad and flat. They have the appearance of a skate or a ray, and with its pectoral and pelvic fins that appear wing-like, it appears like an angel. The Ocellated angelshark is light yellowish-brown dorsally, with a dense scattering of small, round, white spots and 6 pairs of large ocelli with dark rings around the centers that are on the pectoral and pelvic fins and on the tail base. The dorsal fins have a black base and leading edge.
Biology and Reproduction: The biology and reproduction are unknown, but they are presumably ovoviviparous.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: The Ocellated angelshark is lethargic by day and lies buried still in the mud or in the sand mud with only their eyes distended out, waiting to ambush prey.
Ocellated 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 body to pump out water during respiration. Doing so also allows them to be more unnoticeable and prevent detection from unwanted predators.
Ocellated Angelshark Future and Conservation: The Ocellated angelshark is considered vulnerable due to its limited range that is commercially fished. More than likely, they are similar to the other members in its family and have slow reproduction rates.
Ocellated Angelshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Ocellated 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.