Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Squatina
    Family
    Squatinidae
    Order
    Squatiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Australian Angelshark grows to 1.52 m in length.

Introduction

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.

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.

Habitat

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

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

Ozcam map of Australian Angelshark specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=squatina%20australis&zoom=off#mapView

Danger to humans

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

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.