Angel Shark

Angel Shark The Angel Shark (Squatina californica) has a flat gray body with olive blotches and large pectoral fins that look like wings. They live on the sandy bottom of the ocean offshore, in bays, and along the fringe of kelp forests. The camoflage type of coloring allows the angel shark to prey on other fish by burying itself in the sand and ambushing them as they swim by. They eat small fish and squid, and can inflict a painful bite if surprised or harassed (though not so dangerous to people). The female angel shark lays an egg case that is called a mermaid's purse because it looks like a little drawstring purse.

The Atlantic angel shark ranges from a bluish-gray to an ashy-gray in color with a white underside. The head and portions of the fins have a reddish hue. There is a red spot located on both the throat and abdomen. These spots are arranged in an irregular fashion and may also be present over the entire dorsal side. This varied and seemingly sporadic coloring helps to camouflage this species when it is buried within the sea floor.

The adult Atlantic angel shark is relatively small, typically ranging from 3 to 4 feet (91-122 cm) in length, although occasionally reaching 6 feet (about 183 cm). Maturity is attained at 35-41in or (90-105 cm).

This species resides along the Atlantic Coast of North America, ranging from Massachusetts to the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic angel shark is also found in parts of the Caribbean and northern South America (Columbia).

The Angel shark is considered a bottom dweller. It can generally be located buried in sand or mud at the ocean floor. In the northern areas of its distribution, this shark dwells in swallow water while found in deeper water (420 feet/ 128 meters) in its southern range.