The rarity of the angelshark



by LORENZO CIOTTI

The rarity of the angelshark

The angelshark is among the most threatened by extinction due to indiscriminate fishing. Furthermore, these particular sharks reproduce rather slowly. Females give birth to an average of 7 babies at birth. Over half of the species have been studied by the IUCN, 3 species are critically endangered, 3 species in danger of extinction, one species vulnerable in the future, with a less worrying situation, species once defined locally as common 2 species, with scarce data 3 species, and species not included in the IUCN lists 6 species.

Only recently, in some states, these sharks are protected with specific local laws, but still not included in the Washington CITES Convention, which currently protects only 3 species of sharks, which are considered vulnerable by the IUCN, decreasing in some areas or distribution areas.

In April 2008, the UK government decided to fully protect angel sharks under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, as they were virtually extinct from their territorial waters.

The rarity of the angel shark

They were considered to be of no economic value for many years, but in 1978 Michael Wagner, a fish merchant in Santa Barbara, California, started catching them, and by 1984 about 310 tons of these sharks had been caught in California.

Fishing has seriously damaged California's various species, and is now regulated by law.
They are usually not aggressive, but they do bite if stepped on or touched. If ignored, they do not attack humans. These sharks are characterized by the front which is stocky to broad, while the rear is more tapered, as occurs in the other orders of shark.

The eyes and spiracles are above the head, while the five gill slits are below the pectoral fins. Both the pectoral and pelvic fins are quite wide and are held horizontally by the animal. The lower lobe of the caudal fin is longer than the upper one, particularly unusual in a shark.

Most of the species do not exceed the meter and a half in length, while it is known that the Squatina japonica can reach the 2.50 m. Angel Sharks have extendable jaws, which allow them to quickly snap at prey to catch them.

The teeth are long and thin. These sharks cover themselves with sand and await prey on the seabed, which can be fish, crustaceans, and various types of molluscs