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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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Author: Regan, 1908

Field Marks:
An angelshark with simple, conical nasal barbels and virtually smooth anterior nasal flaps, dermal flaps on sides of head without angular lobes, broad, angular pectoral fins, and no ocelli on body.

Diagnostic Features:
Anterior nasal barbels simple, with a narrow, tapering tip; posterior margin of anterior nasal flaps between nasal barbels and tips smooth or weakly fringed; distance from eye to spiracle less than 1.5 times eye diameter; dermal folds on sides of head without lobes; heavy spines present on snout and above eyes, but none on midline of back and tail. Origin of first dorsal fin usually in front of pelvic rear tips; pectoral fins rather broad, free rear tips broadly subangular. Colour: no ocelli on body.

Geographical Distribution:
Tropical and warm temperate waters of the southwestern Indian Ocean: Eastern Cape coast of South Africa north to Mozambique and Tanzania.

Habitat and Biology:
A common benthic and epibenthic shark on the continental shelf and uppermost slope, ranging in depth from the surf line close inshore to 494 m depth, with most occurring between 60 and 300 m depth. Development ovoviviparous, number of young probably about 7 to 11 in a litter. Eats bony fishes, squids and octopuses.

Maximum total length size about 108 cm, males maturing at about 75 to 78 cm and reaching over 80 cm, females maturing between 90 and 93 cm and reaching at least 108 cm; size-at birth between 28 and 34 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Limited, often taken by bottom trawlers.

Type material:
Holotype: British Museum (Natural History), 800 mm male. Type Locality: Durban Bay, Natal, South Africa.

African angelshark (Squatina africana)