Are angelsharks just sleepy?

To know, Understand and Practice

Are angelsharks just sleepy?

Find out whether the angelsharks are just sleepy when they are resting on the bottom or buried, and whether they are on top of the trophic red because of eating sick and dead fish.

Sedentary life habits

This educational video explains an aspect of the sedentary life habits for the common angelshark (Squatina squatina). It is commonly thought that angelsharks are sleepy when they are found resting on the bottom or buried in the sand. They are in fact ambush predators, that “sit-and-wait” until a prey approaches sufficiently to capture it with a surprising attack. This strategy also implies a careful selection of the “resting location”, in order to maximise prey capture.

Striking attack

The velocity and flexibility developed by angelsharks during an attack is definitely striking for a species frequently denominated as ‘sleepy’. Adult angelsharks are capable of lifting their head in an angle of approximately 90˚ and capture a prey, 40 centimetres above its resting spot, in less than 0.1 seconds. This speed and flexibility are characteristic for many species of sharks and rays. However, occasions to appreciate this are rare.

Good practice

Taking into consideration the ecological information provided, it is deductible that, once an angelshark has settled in a location, they prefer to remain there rather than spending energy and swim away from visitors.