African angelshark
The African angelshark, Squatina africana, is an angel shark
Angel shark
The angel sharks are an unusual genus of sharks with flattened bodies and broad pectoral fins that give them a strong resemblance to rays. The more than 16 known species are in the genus Squatina, the only genus in its family, Squatinidae, and order Squatiniformes. They occur worldwide in temperate...

 of the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...



Born: 28-30 cm TL; Mature: ~ 80 cm (M), 90 cm (F) TL; Max: ~ 122 cm TL.


Colour: Are a greyish or a reddish-brown, there are many light and dark spots, which are often large granular-centered ocelli in young fishes. Obtains a larger symmetrical dark bands or saddles, blotces on a broad, angular, high pectoral fins. Has a dark tail base, with white margins. Body: Has simple flat nasal barbels, with its tips tapering or spatulate. The anterior nasal flaps smooth or are slightly fringed. There are no angular lobes on lateral dermal flaps. Enlarged thorns on its head, and not back. Obtains concave between its eyes.

Distribution & Range

Western Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

: found in East and southern Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

; South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 to Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, and possibly Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

. Nominal west African records possibly based on another species. 4°S - 32°S.

Climate & Habitat

Subtropical; continental shelf and upper slope, demersal, marine. Usually found in sand and mud. From surfline to ? - 494 m, but usually occurs at 60 - 300 m down.


Lies in wait buried underneath sand or mud to ambush its prey with lighting fast reflexes and great precision.


Diet: Feeds on small bony fishes, squid and octopuses, and including shrimp. Reproduction: Is ovoviviparous and gives birth to at least 7 or 11 pups per litter.


IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

: Data deficient. Is common only on the east coast of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

. Trawl fishery bycatch.

Resilience & Vulnerability

Very low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years; high vulnerability.
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