Not just Shark
Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to
encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in
shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project
containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark
There are now
more than 5000 shark pictures and sections on shark evolution,
biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed
shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster
list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous
articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so
difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures
are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:
Shark, California Angel Shark, Angelshark.
Name: Squatina californica
Other colloquial and foreign names for Squatina californica:
加州扁鯊China Mandarin Chinese
ангел морскойRussian Russian
ангел калифорнийский морскойRussian Russian
Ange de mer du PacifiqueFranceFrench
Pacific Angel sharkUKEnglish
Pez ángel del PacíficoSpainSpanish
Light brown to grey flattened body with scattered small dark spots. Larger spots
form irregular ocelli. Light margin may be visible around edge of dorsum.
Terminal mouth with paired barbells and one pair of lightly fringed nasal skin
Size: At birth 25-26cm. At maturity 100cm.
Maximum recorded size 152cm.
Often found in shallow bays on sand or mud bottoms. Regularly around rocks
sometimes near kelp. Depth range from 1-200m but usually shallow down to 100m.
Eastern Pacific. From Alaska to the Sea of Cortez and Ecuador to southern Chile.
The southern population may be a different as yet undescribed species. Some
researchers suggest that due to their very small home ranges there may
even be distinct sub-species within the overall northern populations.
Angel Sharks are ambush predators that lay in wait partially buried in the sand.
Their diet includes bass, croaker, flatfish, mackerel, and sardines. In early
winter when the squid spawning begins they feed primarily on squid which die
after spawning and therefore easy to catch.
Angel sharks choose their resting sites based on their success at ambush hunting
in a particular spot. Once selected they use their pectoral fins to dust away
enough sand to create a depression that they can settle into. If hunting is good
they will remain in the same spot for extended periods.
Falls prey to Great White Sharks and Sevengill Sharks.
with no yolk sac placenta.
Recorded litter size from 1-13. Little is known about Angel Shark mating
Although certain sub-populations of Pacific Angel Sharks may be distinct species
as yet none have been scientifically described and no other Angel Sharks share
Pacific Angel Shark's range.
Reaction to divers:
Remains completely motionless relying on camouflage.
Reluctant to move even when a diver exposes it completely by fanning the sand
away from its back. Will bite anything including a divers hand or foot if it
strays too close to the angel sharks mouth (within about 15cm).
Pacific Angel Sharks were becoming more and more difficult to find until the
gill net fishery was banned during the mid 90s. Now populations are rebounding
and a resident community exists at Tajiguas Beach near Santa Barbara, CA. Enter
from the beach and swim along the sand outside of the kelp forest looking for
small dorsal fins poking up or the vague outline of the whole animal as it lays
Many thanks to Ron Clough of the California Shark and Ray Count for showing me
this dive site.
Sharks, Rays, and Chimaeras of
California. David A. Ebert. U of C Press.
Sharks of the World. Leonard
and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.