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...

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...

Are angelsharks just sleepy?

In the Canary Islands, divers can easily encounter with angelsharks (Squatina squatina), which creates a special attraction in this activity to both locals and tourists. Even though, few people are familiar with specific aspects of its feeding, reproduction, behavior and habitat use. If you would like to learn more about the hunting strategy of the angel sharks in a video, click here.   Knowledge of species specific habits improves the interaction between the observer and the sighted species, minimizing the impact caused by the encounter. In this sense, ElasmoCan designs content especially developed towards scientific knowledge and citizen sensitization. These contents help to improve the understanding about sharks and rays, promoting in this way the use of good practice. Continue...

Angelshark reproduction: important finding in the Canary Islands

Researchers from ElasmoCan, the ULPGC (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), and the Fundación Squalus, with the support of the Shark Foundation, found a remarkable characteristic in the reproduction process of the angelshark (Squatina squatina). Reproductive biology knowledge is essential to understand habitat use patterns and for an effective conservation management of a species. Read more in the section...

Citizen science affirms that he angelshark is the most frequently observed elasmobranch species in El Cabrón.

In a followup study of elasmobranch species with citizen science, ElasmoCan and the dive centre Davy Jones Diving found that the common angelshark or monkfish (Squatina squatina) is the most frequently observed elasmobranch species in El Cabrón (Gran Canaria). In the area it is possible to observe at least 8 species of rays, like the common stingray Dasyatis pastinaca, the fantail stingray Taeniurops grabata, the eagle ray Myliobatis Aquila, the marbled electric ray Torpedo marmorata, the butterfly ray Gymnura altavela, the bull ray Aetomylaeus bovinus, the rough tailed ray Dasyatis centroura and the devil ray Mobula sp. The study comprises a 6-year series of sighting data, and was presented during the scientific conference IV Congreso de Ciencias del Mar. Read more in the section Citizen science: Diving. Go to...

Citizen science reveals a strong seasonal pattern of the angelshark in El Cabrón.

A study of citizen science with collaboration between recreational divers and researchers of ElasmoCan revealed a maximum sighting probability for the angelshark (Squatina squatina) in the area of “El Cabrón” (Gran Canaria) when the water temperature was cold or temperate, or between 18˚ to 21˚C. The study comprises a 6-year series of sighting data, collected by the dive centre Davy Jones Diving, and was presented during the scientific conference IV Congreso de Ciencias del Mar. Read more in the section Citizen science: Diving. Go to...