Pacific Angel Shark

Squatina californica

Back to Animals on Oceanscape

This shark’s body is flattened and disk-shaped with broad pectoral fins which resemble angel wings. Although it does have dorsal fins, they are small and located far down the tail. In these respects, it may look more like a ray than a shark. The Pacific Angelshark is a bottom-dweller, often burying itself in the sand to avoid detection by both prey and predators. It can be found at depths up to 3,600 feet (1,100 m). It will become active at night, dislodging itself from the ocean floor to search for fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans. It is actively hunted by other sharks, including the Great White.

Range and Habitat

The Pacific Angelshark can be found along the west coast of North America, from Alaska to the southern tip of South America. It is uncommon in Oregon waters.

Conservation Status

Common. A commercial fishery for the Pacific Angelshark began in the 1980s but its numbers appear to remain healthy.