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Taxonomische classification
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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Field Marks:
An angelshark with a broad trunk, simple, conical nasal barbels and smooth or weakly fringed anterior nasal flaps, dermal flaps on sides of head with an angular lobe, very high broad pectoral fins, and no ocelli on body.

Diagnostic Features:
Trunk very broad. Anterior nasal barbels simple and with a spatulate tip; posterior margin of anterior nasal flaps between nasal barbels and tips weakly fringed; distance from eye to spiracle over 1.5 times eye diameter; dermal folds on sides of head with a single triangular lobe. Pectoral fins very high and broad, with broadly rounded rear tips. Small spines present or absent on midline of back and tail from head to dorsal fins and between the fin bases, and patches of small spines on snout and above eyes; lateral trunk denticles with very narrow, sharp-cusped crowns. Colour: no ocelli on body.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern North Atlantic: Southern Norway, Sweden and Shetland Island to Morocco and West Sahara, Canary Islands, Mediterranean.

Habitat and Biology:
A temperate-water bottomdwelling angelshark of the European and North African continental shelves, on or near the bottom from close inshore to at least 150 m depth. This shark prefers mud or sandy bottom, where it lies buried with hardly more than its eyes protruding.It is nocturnal and can be found swimming strongly up off the bottom, but is torpid in the daytime and rests on the bottom. In the northern parts of its range the angelshark is seasonally migratory, and makes northward incursions during the summer.

This shark is ovoviviparous, with moderate-sized litters of 9 to 20 young. The angelshark feeds primarily on bony fishes, especially flatfishes but also other demersal fishes and skates, crustaceans and molluscs.

Maximum total length at least 183 cm and possibly to 244 cm; adult males reaching 183 cm, females maturing at 126 to 167 cm; size at birth about 24 to 30 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Caught in bottom trawls, and utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, and possibly for oil and fishmeal.

Type material:
Holotype: Unknown. Type Locality: "Oceano Europaeo".

Angelshark (Squatina squatina)