The Angelshark is up to 2.5 meters (6.25 feet) long.
Angelsharks are found in tropical and warm temperate oceans on continental shelves around the world, where they feed on fish and benthic invertebrates.
They are remarkable for their flattened bodies and broad pectoral fins, giving them a strong resemblance to stingrays.
They are considered smaller sharks as they grow to only 7 feet (2.1 m) and can weigh around 77 pounds (35 kg).
Angelsharks often lurk in sandy bottom habitats near beaches before attacking prey that pass too close above. They have stretchy jaws that can swing up quickly to catch prey, and they have long, needle-like teeth. They burrow in loose sediment in wait for prey, which includes fish, crustaceans and various types of molluscs.
They are oviparous and produce litters of up to 13 young.
Although this shark lives on the bottom and appears harmless, it can inflict painful lacerations if provoked due to its powerful jaws and sharp teeth. May bite if the diver approaches the head or catches the tail.
Angelsharks live very close to shore, resulting in high bycatch rates. In 1991, gillnets were banned in California’s coastal waters, and fishing was restricted over much of the Pacific angelshark’s range.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) notes that recreational fishing, unintentional capture in commercial fishing nets, and habitat degradation have led to significant declines in local angelshark populations, leading the organization to classify the species as critically endangered.
Many species of angelshark are also caught as bycatch by the commercial fishing industry, which has caused their populations to decline sharply. By 2020, the IUCN listed over half of all known angelshark species endangered or critically endangered.
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