Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan 1906


Other Names: Angel Shark, Angelshark, Angel-shark, Monkfish, Monk-fish

An Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis, at Rye, Port Phillip, Victoria, February 2018. Source: Fam Charko / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:

A large well-camouflaged greyish-brown to pale brownish angelshark with a whitish underside, and covered in small irregular pale spots. The margins of the pectoral and pelvic fins have alternating pale and dark dashes, and there are small dark spots on the lower lobe of the tail. 

Although considered harmless, Australian Angelsharks have sharp pointed teeth and may bite and cause serious wounds if threatened.

An Australian Angelshark at Blairgowrie, Port Phillip, Victoria.


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Squatina australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Aug 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3283

Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan 1906

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to continental shelf waters of southern Australia, from about Port Stephens (central New South Wales) to Lancelin (Western Australia), including Tasmania. Inhabits sandy and muddy areas, often in seagrass beds or near rocky reefs.
The Australian Angelshark is nocturnal and often lies buried in sand during the day.

Features

Body wide, flattened, pectoral fins broad; tail long, with two short dorsal fins and prominent lateral keels; anal fin absent; head with eyes and spiracles on top; nasal barbels fringed; gill slits on the sides; a flat to slightly convex space between the eyes; mouth teminal with relatively long, sharp pointed teeth.

Size

Grows to more than 150 cm in total length.

Feeding

A well-camouflaged ambush predator - feeds on bottom-dwelling fishes and invertebrates such as crustaceans, actively seeking prey at night.

Biology

Males mature by 90 cm TL, and grow to a length of  ~105 cm total length (TL); females mature by 97 cm TL, and reach at least 115 cm TL. Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous). The young are born live after developing from eggs that are not attached to the mother via a placenta. Females give birth to up to 20 pups per litter.

Fisheries

Although not targetted, Australian Angelsharks are taken as bycatch and retained as a byproduct from the South East Trawl Fishery (SETF).  
The flesh of angel sharks is considered to be excellent eating.

Conservation

IUCN Red List : Least Concern

Remarks

Generally considered harmless to humans, although the Australian Angelshark may bite if threatened.

Species Citation

Squatina australis Regan 1906, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 7 18(65): 438. Type locality: Port Jackson, NSW.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan 1906

References


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249.

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Families Squatinidae, Heterodontidae, Parascylliidae, Brachaeluridae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae. pp. 1235-1259 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Daley, R.K., Stevens, J.D., Last, P.R. & Yearsley, G.K. 2002. Field Guide to Australian Sharks & Rays. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 84 pp.

Dulvy, N.K. & Reynolds, J.D. 1997. Evolutionary transitions among egg-laying, live-bearing and maternal inputs in sharks and rays. Proc. R. Soc. Lond., Ser. B: Biol. Sci. 264: 1309-1315.

Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. 544 pp.

Garman, S. 1913. The Plagiostomia (sharks, skates and rays). Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University 36: 1-528 pls 1-77 (as Rhina australis)

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Families, Pristiophoridae, Squatinidae. pp. 149-154 figs 124-132 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Graham, K.J. 1999. Trawl fish length-weight relationships from data collected during FRV Kapala surveys. NSW Fisheries Research Report Series 2, 105 pp.

Günther, A. 1870. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Physostomi, containing the families Gymnotidae, Symbranchidae, Muraenidae, Pegasidae, and of the Lophobranchii, Plectognathi, Dipnoi, [thru] Leptocardii, in the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 8 549 pp. (as Rhina squatina)

Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; a Guide for Commercial Fishers. Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry 71 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. 1911. Report on the fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Part 1. Zoological (Biological) Results. Endeavour 1(1): 1-87 figs 1-20 pls 1-16  (as Squatina squatina)

Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Squatina australis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. Downloaded on 05 October 2012.

Regan, C.T. 1906. Descriptions of some new sharks in the British Museum collection. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 7 18(65): 435-440 See ref at BHL

Theiss, S.M. & Ebert, D.A. 2013. Lost and found: recovery of the holotype of the ocellated angelshark, Squatina tergocellatoides Chen, 1963 (Squatinidae), with comments on western Pacific squatinids. Zootaxa 3752 (1): 73-85.

Waite, E.R. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. Thetis off the coast of New South Wales. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4: 1-132 figs 1-10 pls 1-31 (as Squatina squatina)

Walker, T.I. & Gason, A.S. 2007. Shark and other chondrichthyan byproduct and bycatch estimation in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Final report to Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Project No. 2001/007. July 2007. vi + 182 pp. Primary Industries Research Victoria, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

Walker, T.I., Hudson, R.J. & Gason, A.S. 2005. Catch evaluation of target, byproduct, and bycatch species in the shark fishery of south-eastern Australia. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science 35: 505‒530.

Walker, T.I., Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D.A. 2016. Squatina australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41862A68645631. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41862A68645631.en. Downloaded on 26 April 2018.

Weigmann, S. 2016. Annotated checklist of the living sharks, batoids and chimaeras (Chondrichthyes) of the world, with a focus on biogeographical diversity. Journal of Fish Biology 88(3): 837-1037 https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.12874 Open access

White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37024001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:May bite if threatened

Depth:0-130 m

Habitat:Sandy, muddy bottoms

Max Size:152 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map