Squatina squatina

WHAT TO LOOK FOR


The front section of the shark’s body is flattened and its wide pectoral fins resemble those of rays or skates, the rear section is more typical of other sharks

COLOR



Grey to reddish or greenish-brown on the back with scattered small white spots and blackish dots and spots. A white nuchal spot may be present, and no ocelli. Its young often have white reticulations and large dark blotches, while the adults are plainer.

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SIZE


The shark is born at a length of 0.8 to1 ft [24 to 30 cm]. Females mature at 4.1 to 5.5 ft [126 to167 cm], and males reach a maximum length of 6 to 7.3 ft [183 to 224 cm].

HABITAT


The shark prefers mud and sand bottoms inshore 16.4 ft [5 m] on coasts and estuaries up to over 492.1 [150 m] on the continental shelf.

DISTRIBUTION


Northeast Atlantic: historically from Norway to Mauritania, Canary Islands, Mediterranean and Black Sea. They have now vanished from some of these areas.

BIOLOGY 


Prey – Feeds mainly on flatfishes, skates, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Reproduction – 7-25 pups per litter, increasing with female size. Their gestation is 8-10 months, born December-February in the Mediterranean; July in England.

BEHAVIOR 


Torpid by day, lying buried with eyes protruding out of the sand or mud. They swim strongly off of the bottom at night. They are seasonally migratory in colder water, moving northwards in the summer.

STATUS


They are a very vulnerable target and bycatch species in bottom trawl, line gear and fixed bottom nets.