Aquarium of the Bay just announced the first-ever Pacific angel shark pup to be born in captivity. The pup is just 23.5 centimeters in length and weighs 125 grams.
The Aquarium of the Bay is the only aquarium in the United States to consistently exhibit angel sharks, which are known by the scientific name Squatina californica. In addition to the new pup, the Aquarium currently has two adult angel sharks in its collection, which includes sevengill sharks, smoothhound sharks, spiny dogfish, leopard sharks, soupfin sharks and swell sharks.
“With so much attention focused on great white sharks, many people are unaware of the lesser known species of sharks that live in the San Francisco Bay and surrounding waters,” stated John Frawley, the Aquarium’s Executive Director. “Since very little data is available on these sharks, Aquarium of the Bay is focusing its field projects and collaborative research on gaining a better understanding of their life cycles and distribution patterns. We have recently embarked on a shark tagging program that will help us better understand how sharks fit into the Bay’s ecosystem, and what actions need to be taken to ensure they thrive.”
Named for their large wing-shaped pectoral fins, angel sharks have flattened bodies and grow to five feet in length. Their gray, brown and black coloring blends with the sandy and rocky Bay bottom in which they bury themselves to ambush their favorite prey: fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Angel sharks, like many other sharks, are ovoviviparous, and give live birth to litters of up to thirteen pups.
“The high quality of care we provide to our animals is the key to our successful breeding programs,” noted the Aquarium’s director of Husbandry Reid Withrow. “The achievements we’ve made in this area have enabled us to donate hundreds of skates, skate eggs, jellyfish, surf perch and pipefish to public aquariums and educational institutions each year. We are now breaking new ground with the birth of the angel shark pup.”
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