Angelshark genetic conservation study

The preliminary results of the first genetic study of the angelshark Squatina squatina were presented in different international conferences related to research in sharks and rays during 2016. Part of the tissue sample bank from ElasmoCan was analysed by scientists from the Save Our Seas Shark Research Center and Nova Southeastern University. The results of the mitochondrial DNA indicated a very low genetic diversity in the individuals from Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife. In future , we will carry out genetic studies that will include samples from other islands in the Archipelago and regions outside the Canary Islands. This will allow us to understand the population dynamics from the angelsharks and as such to help in their conservation.   Continue reading     With the authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Food & Environment, and with knowledge from the Canarian Government....

Angelsharks: an evolution of millions of years

A recent remarkable archeologic discovery in Belgium remembers us that angelsharks have evolved during millions of years of evolution, adapting to different climate changes in their habitats. Shark fossil remains were found in clay layers that were deposited 28 to 34 millions of years ago. A group of scientists from Belgium and Holland identified these as parts of a braincase and vertebras from an angelshark species. Actually, the researchers are analysing the braincase to confirm to which ancestor of the actual angelsharks it belongs. This study can also help to understand of how these sharks have evolved. The complete study is available in Contributions to Zoology: Mollen FH, Barry WM, van Bakel BWM, Jagt JWM (2016) A partial braincase and other skeletal remains of Oligocene angel sharks (Chondrichthyes, Squatiniformes) from northwest Belgium, with comments on squatinoid taxonomy....

HAMMERHEAD SHARK RESEARCH

HAMMERHEAD SHARK RESEARCH is a project that studies the unknown species of hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) in the Canary Islands. This research is the first initiative in the Canary Islands to collect scientific information of these particular shark species to help in their conservation. The project logo, elaborated by Plunk Artes Visuales, is adapted from pieces in the archaeological collection form the Museo Canario to the singular shape of a hammerhead shark. ElasmoCan will study different dynamic population aspects of the hammerheads, like their distribution, growth and migrations. This research will provide important information that enables a more effective management of these species in the Archipelago.   You can help with the conservation of hammerhead sharks in the Canary Islands by sharing your observations through this form or another contribution.   Continue reading   With the generous support of Loro Parque Fundación     With the authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Food & Environment, and with knowledge from the Canarian Government....

New parasite species reported for the Canary Islands

A new parasite species was reported in the Canary Islands. It concerns the marine leech Branchellion torpedinis that was found in the coastal areas of Agaete, Galdar and Aquimes while it was feeding from the blood of the angelshark Squatina squatina and the marbled electric ray Torpedo marmorata. This finding is at the same time the first observation of a parasite for this electric ray in the Canarian Archipelago. The marine leech has been observed in the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the northern Atlantic coasts. In certain occasions, it is known to cause severe damage to its hosts, including its dead. The parasite was observed for the first time in the Canary Islands by researchers from ElasmoCan while conducting monitoring of shark and ray species. These researches are important to know the activities developed by these elasmobranchs in the Archipelago for their survival. At the same time, they allow us to detect threats for these species, and altogether provide a tool to guarantee their conservation. The complete report, which was made possible thanks to the support of Shark Foundation and Loro Parque Fundación, is available in Springer via DOI 10.1007/s12526-016-0535-9 “The marine leech Branchellion torpedinis parasitic on the angelshark Squatina squatina and the marbled electric ray Torpedo marmorata”.   Continue reading     With the authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, Food & Environment, and with knowledge from the Canarian Government....

David’s Angel Shark (Squatina david): A new species for the Caribbean Sea

A new angelshark species was described for the Caribbean region of Colombia. David’s Angel Shark (Squatina david) is a sister species from two angelsharks along the Brazilian Coast: the angular angelshark (Squatina guggenheim) and the hidden angelshark (Squatina occulta). Its origin is estimated between 10.7 to 2.7 million years, at the end of the Miocene and the beginning of the Pliocene when the Isthmus of Panama was formed. The different angelshark species worldwide are very similar in appearance and therefore difficult to identify. As per the latest revision* 20 species have been recognized. Squatina david would bring this total to 21. The complete report is available via DOI 10.1643/CI-15-292 “A New Southern Caribbean Species of Angel Shark (Chondrichthyes, Squaliformes, Squatinidae), Including Phylogeny and Tempo of Diversification of American Species”.     (*) Weigmann S (2016) Annotated checklist of the living sharks, batoids and chimaeras (Chondrichthyes) of the world, with a focus on biogeographical diversity. J Fish Biol 88: 837-1037. doi:...

ANGELSHARK-ID: foto-identification of angelsharks

ANGELSHARK-ID is a project that monitors the angelshark populations by employing their natural body marks. This technique guarantees a minimal impact to the individuals in return of a great effort from the researcher. This research, which is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Loro Parque Fundación, studies the angelshark (Squatina squatina) in the Canary Islands to help with its conservation. This project responds to the need for a systematic monitoring of the population tendencies due to the concern over and the lack of knowledge of the conservation status from the species. The project logo, elaborated by Plunk Artes Visuales, indicates the specific sharks’ characteristics that can be photographed and employed for individual identification. These are represented by a combination of shapes and decorations from different collection pieces from the Museo Canario. ElasmoCan studies different angelshark aspects, such as genetics, reproduction, predators and citizen science in between others. These investigations, together with ANGELSHARK-ID, are important for the knowledge of their life history and allow to take effective management and conservation decisions for the species in its entire distribution.   Continue to read   With the generous support from Loro Parque...

An isopod as micropredator of the angelshark in the Canary Islands

The marine isopod Aegapheles deshaysiana was observed while preying on the angelshark (Squatina squatina) in the Canary Islands. These are the first observations from this micropredator in its natural environment, while taking blood meals from its host and in depths less than 50m. The complete report, which was made possible with the support of the Shark Foundation, is available in Springer via DOI 10.1007/s12526-015-0358-0 “The angelshark Squatina squatina prey of the isopod Aegapheles deshaysiana”.   Continue...

V Encuentro Colombiano sobre Condrictios

Our partner the Fundación Squalus organises the scientific conference V Encuentro Colombiano sobre Condrictios that takes place in 2016 from 24 until 28 October in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. This two-yearly networking event is a moment for knowledge divulgation and interaction of researchers focusing on sharks, rays and chimaeras from Colombia and other Latin American countries. Its importance is highlighted by the participation of more than 350 scientists from 13 American countries during the past 4...

A common parasite for the angelshark in the Canary Islands

Scientists from ElasmoCan identified a common parasite for the angelshark (Squatina squatina) in the Canary Islands. During dives in the islands, between 2006 and 2015, the marine leech Stibarobdella macrothela was regularly observed feeding from the shark’s blood. It is the first time that a parasite is registered for the angel shark in the Canarian Archipelago, and the first host record for the marine leech since its first report in 2006. This report is even more valuable since it involves observations from both species in their natural habitat during more than 9 years. The complete report, which was made possible thanks to the support of the Shark Foundation, is available in Springer via DOI 10.1007/s12526-016-0444-y “The marine leech Stibarobdella macrothela parasitic on the angelshark Squatina squatina. Continue...

Research contributing to conservation

The members from ElasmoCan have undertaken different studies relevant to fundamental conservation aspects of the angel shark (Squatina squatina) in the Canary Islands. Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), published a draft proposal to include 3 species of angelsharks in the Endangered Species Act of 1973 from the United States. Read the contributions to this report of local knowledge about angelsharks (Squatina squatina) in the Canary Islands and research efforts from the members of ElasmoCan. Continue...