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 / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


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 28 May 2024,

Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan 1906

More Info


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.


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.


Grows to more than 150 cm in total length.


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


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.


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.


IUCN Red List : Least Concern


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.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan 1906


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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

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map