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Fish Species of Gran Canaria – Angel Shark

Our onsite marine biologist Divemaster TJ, has been busy writing fact-files about the species of Gran Canaria. Each week he has documented a different species that Leagues Ahead Diving see while under the water! This is to try and educate divers about the underwater world and raise awareness about ocean conservation!

The Angel Shark

Angel Shark
Common Angel Shark Squatina squatina. El Cabron Marine Park, Arinaga, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The Angel Shark is a curious species of shark. At first glance you might think it’s a ray or a skate but when you look closely you can see the resemblance. This resemblance becomes most evident when you see them swim. While rays use there pectoral fins to swim angel sharks swim with their tails just like other sharks. They use their pectoral fins mostly for steering. The angel shark is a benthic ambush predator meaning you’re likely to find it on sandy sea bottom often buried in sand. Unlike most shark species that need to swim in order to breath the angel shark has spiracles on it’s head which pump water to its gills. Angel sharks are aplacental viviparous animals (there’s a nice word for scrabble) which means they hatch their eggs inside their body. This pregnancy lasts 8 to 10 months and often delivers 7 to 25 small but fully developed sharks to the world. The are 21 species of angel shark of which 10 are marked as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and 3 are critically endangered including the Squatina squatina, the species native to the Canary Islands.

Other fish species

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