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African angelshark

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Title: African angelshark  
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African angelshark

African angelshark
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Squatiniformes
Family: Squatinidae
Genus: Squatina
Species: S. africana
Binomial name
Squatina africana
Regan, 1908
Range of African angelshark (in blue)

The African angelshark, Squatina africana, is an angel shark of the family Squatinidae.


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


Color: 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: found in East and southern Africa; South Africa to Mozambique, Tanzania and Madagascar, and possibly Somalia. 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: Data deficient. Is common only on the east coast of South Africa. Trawl fishery bycatch.

Threat to Humans


Resilience & Vulnerability

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


  • Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Squatina africana in FishBase. July 2006 version.
  • Compagno, Dando, & Fowler, Sharks of the World, Princeton University Press, New Jersey 2005 ISBN 978-0-691-12072-0
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