Pacific Angel Shark
- Shark with a flattened body and broad pectoral (side) fins that resemble a ray.
- Have a large mouth on front of head, instead of on bottom.
- Gray, brown and black mottled coloring to camouflage in the sand.
- They can reach five feet in length.
- Have two small dorsal (top) fins at base of tail, no bottom fins.
- From southern Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.
- Gulf of California, Mexico.
- From Ecuador to southern Chile.
- Prefer soft, sandy bottoms near kelp forests and rocky reefs.
- Found at depths of 0 to 330 feet.
- Pacific angel sharks are slow growing and do not reach sexual maturity until age 13.
- Reproduction is via internal fertilization.
- Embryos receive nutrition from a yolk sac inside the mother and females bear live young.
- Newborn Pacific angel sharks are self-sufficient predators and do not receive any more parental care.
- Small fish like croakers and halibut, squid, octopus, some small sharks, crustaceans.
- Uses large mouth to create suction while feeding.
- Great white sharks, larger sharks, northern elephant seals.
- Unlike many sharks, they do not need to swim to breathe. Thus, they can lay in wait in the sand to ambush their prey.
- They are suction feeders, and will swallow their prey whole.
- They are both overfished and caught as bycatch in other fisheries. Angel sharks are one of the most at-risk groups of sharks on the planet.
Sources: Monterey Bay Aquarium; Oceana; Florida Museum
Photo: Weiwei Gao