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Pacific Angel Shark
Threat Level: low
Scientific name........Squatina Californica
Common names........Monkfish, Sand Devil
Angelsharks are unusual, flattened sharks that are often mistaken for rays. They use to be called Monkfish because the strange shape of their heads resembles the hood on a monk's cloak. Have simple, conical nasal barbels with spatulate tips, that are weakly fringed anterior nasal flaps, no triangular lobes on lateral head folds. Concave between large eyes, and a conspicuous spiracle. Thorns are prominent in young, small or absent in adults. Fairly broad, long, high pectoral fins.
They grow up to a maximum of about 5 feet long. Males and females mature about 3 feet long.
The Pacific Angelsharks have a protruding, trap-like jaws and numerous spiky teeth.
They are generally a brown-gray coloration with scattered brown flecks of varying size. White edged pectoral and pelvic fins. Pale dorsal fins with dark blotches at base.
Because of their color pattern, it helps it to better blend in substrate, which makes it easier to ambush fish and squid that swim by or may hunt and feed on sleeping fish at night. If a prey passes within a strike zone up to 6 inches from the shark's head it will elicit an attack, and if it is small enough, the angel shark almost always succeeds in capturing it.
This shark is active at night. Lies buried in flat sand or mud by day to ambush prey.
Pacific angel sharks can be found in Eastern Pacific, from southeast Alaska, USA, to Baja California, Mexico, and from Ecuador to southern Chile. Occasionally, divers may encounter a Pacific angel shark swimming over sandy bottoms near kelp beds at a depth of 10 feet. These sharks occur along temperate coasts and have been seen near rocky reefs hidden just under the sand or mud, from shallow waters to more than 4,265 feet deep.
This shark is ovoviviparous, producing eggs that are retained within her body. These are about 8 to 13 pups in each litter.
Does not swim long distances.
Pacific Angelsharks can become aggressive if harassed, a diver or angler who foolishly grabs the tail of an angelshark soon discovers how quickly the shark can bite and how painful the bite can be.
Once common, now reduced due to heavy fishing pressure.
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