The Common Angelshark

The common angelshark or monkfish (Squatina squatina)

The Common Angelshark or Monkfish (Squatina squatina)

Male specimen of the common angelshark or monkfish (Squatina squatina) from the Canary Islands – ElasmoCan.

This section clarifies some aspects of the Common Angelshark or Monkfish (Squatina squatina), and especially for the Canary Islands population.

The angelshark is the most sighted and emblematic shark species for divers in the Canarian archipelago. The PhD dissertations from the members of ElasmoCan, Osaer 2009 and Narváez 2012, are the first studies of this species in the Islands. These researches describe different biological and ecological aspects like citizen science (recreational diver sightings), reproduction, photo-identification, and habitat use & population structure. We continue to generate scientific knowledge which is a reference for the understanding and conservation management of the angelshark in its entire distribution.

Fisheries resource in the Canary Islands

The common angelshark was considered as a fisheries resource by the Canarian Government and the Cabildo of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands before 2009. From this year onwards, it was prohibited to retain on board and land the species.

Read more about the fisheries protection regulations that apply to this angelshark species in the Canary Islands.

Distribution in the Canary Islands

The common angelshark has been reported in all the islands of the Canarian Archipelago. As highlighted in the study of Narváez (2012), the species was found in fisheries captures in the islands of El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote(1). Additionally, during the last decade, the species was reported in all islands and islets by different local species – and dive guides, and spotted with pictures and videos in specialized forums and social media.


Biology of reproduction and sexual development of the common angelshark (Squatina squatina) for its distribution in the Canary Islands


ANGELSHARK-ID: foto-identification of angelsharks

Genetic exploration

Genetic exploration of the angelshark (Squatina squatina) to determine the population dynamics and genetic diversity from different populations.


Learn about the different predators of the common angelsharks or monkfish (Squatina squatina) from the Canary Islands - ElasmoCan

Conservation status

Conservation status of the common angelshark (Squatina squatina), with specific information for its distribution in the Canary Islands.

Are angel sharks just sleepy?

Angelsharks (Squatina squatina) from the Canary Islands, that appear to be sleepy, can surprise their prey with a striking attack

Citizen science: Recreational diving

Citizen science with the collaboration of dive centers that register sightings of sharks and rays in the Canary Islands

(1)Bravo de Laguna J, Escánez J (1975) Informe sobre las posibilidades pesqueras de elasmobranquios en el archipiélago Canario. Publ Junt Est Tec Pesca (11):169-192