Animal Species:Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis Regan, 1906

The Australian Angelshark is a bottom-dwelling species that can be recognised by its depressed body and large pectoral fins that are not fully joined to the head. In Australia it occurs from New South Wales, around the south of the country including Tasmania, and north to south-western Western Australia.

An Australian Angelshark at Mystery Bay

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Australian Angelshark

Identification

The Australian Angelshark has a depressed body and large pectoral fins that are not fully joined to the head. It has a blunt snout and nostrils with skin flaps. There are two equal-sized dorsal fins on the tail. The species is white below and grey to brown above with numerous pale spots.

Size range

The Australian Angelshark grows to 1.52 m in length.

Distribution

In Australia it occurs from New South Wales, around the south of the country including Tasmania, and north to south-western Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Squatina australis

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Australian Angelshark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It occurs in marine coastal waters. It is usually seen on sandy bottoms where it can be extremely well camouflaged.

Danger to humans and first aid

It s not considered dangerous to people, but should not be handled. Its bite can cause serious wounds.

Classification

Species:
australis
Genus:
Squatina
Family:
Squatinidae
Order:
Squatiniformes
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Australian Angelshark, Squatina australis, Squatinidae, shark, ray, bottom-dwelling, large pectoral fins, blunt snout, white underside, grey, brown, pale spots, dots/spots, marine, adult, > 1m,