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Japanese Angel Shark Pictures
in the Shark Picture Database
Angel Shark, Japanese Angelshark.
Dorsum covered in reddish brown irregular spots and blotches on a
cream or light grey background. Blotches larger closer to centerline of back,
smaller around the fin margins and head. No dark ocelli (eye spots) on pectoral
fins. Small double line of enlarged denticles (thorns) running along centerline
of back and tail. More thorns between fin bases and above eyes. Ventrum white.
Eyes large. Distance between eye and spracle about 1.5x eye size.
Area between eyes concave. Terminal mouth with simple spatulate barbells and one pair of
unfringed or weakly fringed nasal skin
At birth 30cm. Maximum recorded size
Found on sandy substrates down to 300m. Sometimes adjacent to
Uncommon. Endemic to the northwest Pacific: Sea of Japan, south
coast of Japan, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, northern Taiwan and the Taiwan
with no yolk sac placenta.
Litter size up to 10.
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE.
According to the IUCN, the Japanese angelshark is
caught as bycatch in fisheries, which operate down to 300m, and in
particularly large numbers in demersal trawl fisheries. It is not
known to be targeted, but is a retained bycatch, with individuals
recorded in local fish markets in northern Taiwan, Province of China
and Japan, although this species, like other Northwest Pacific angel
sharks, has frequently been misidentified. This species' generation
period may be between 8-15 years, based on biological information
from better known angel sharks. Other angel shark populations (for
example Squatina squatina and Squatina guggenheim) have proved
particularly vulnerable to trawl and gillnet fishing gear, resulting
in significant population depletion because of their low
reproductive potential and low potential for re-colonisation. Where
population data are available for other angel sharks, declines
greater than 80% have been observed in less than three generations
within areas where target or bycatch fisheries take place. Although
trend data are not available for Japanese Angelshark, there is
concern that it has already declined significantly as a result of
fisheries, which possibly operate throughout its range. Based on
current knowledge of fishing pressure in this region, these trends
are likely to continue. This species, however, has a fairly wide
geographic and bathymetric range, which may offer some areas of
refuge from fisheries. It is therefore assessed as Vulnerable
A2d+A4d, based on suspected declines approaching 50%, but it may
prove to have been more seriously depleted than this. Further
research into this species' abundance, distribution, life-history
and population trends is urgently needed.
Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
The Japanese angle shark shares its range with at least 3 other
The Taiwan angelshark Squatina formosa is confined to
Taiwan. It is yellow/brown with paired ocelli on is pectoral fins and simple
The clouded angelshark Squatina nebulosa shares most of
the Japanese angelshark's range. It is a more bluish-grey with many small black
spots, scattered dark blotches and a large dark spot at the base of each
The ocellated angelshark Squatina tergocellatoides is
present from the South China Sea down to Malaysia. It has six pairs of large
ocelli on its back and wide finely fringed short barbells.
Reaction to divers:
Remains completely motionless relying on camouflage.
Reluctant to move even when a diver partially exposes it by fanning the sand
away from its back.
This angelshark is difficult to find in the wild but it is
occasionally seen by divers on the south side of Honshu Island around Izu and
Chiba Peninsulas. Angelshark sightings are more common in the colder months.
Walsh, J.H. & Ebert, D.A. 2009. Squatina
japonica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version
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