Squatina albipunctata


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Squatina albipunctata
Species Authority: Last & White, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Angel Shark
Squatina sp. [Last & Stevens, 1994] subspecies A
Taxonomic Notes: This species (prior to the publication of Last and Stevens 1994) had previously been confused with the Australian angelshark (Squatina australis), which is restricted to the inner continental shelf waters of southern Australia (Last and Stevens 1994). The two species overlap in range between about Newcastle (central New South Wales) and eastern Victoria (Last and Stevens 1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer(s): Fowler, S. & Cavanagh, R.D. (Shark Red List Authority)
An endemic species of the outer shelf and upper slope of Eastern Australia. Generation period inferred to be >10 years. Heavily fished (utilized trawl bycatch) in the southern half of its range. A 96% documented decline in CPUE and a reduction in the mean size of large individuals reported by fishery-independent trawl surveys between 1976 to 1977 and 1996 to 1997 in fished areas near the center of the range. This represents only a quarter of the total range of this endemic, with large areas of its northern range (where the species' abundance is suspected to be lower than in the central and southern parts of its range) remaining untrawled.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species has been recorded from the Cairns region (Queensland) southwards to Lakes Entrance (Victoria).
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no estimates of population size and although the number and size of subpopulations is unknown, large declines have occurred in the past 2 to 3 decades.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Last and Stevens (1994) reported the habitat as outer continental shelf and upper slope in 130 to 315 m depth, but occasionally this species enters waters as shallow as 60 m depth (Graham et al. 1995, Australian Museum Collection Records identified by J.J. Pogonoski Feb 2003). This species, like its southern relative is presumably a demersal carnivore feeding on fish and crustaceans (Last and Stevens 1994).

Although Last and Stevens (1994) reported maximum size to be at least 63 cm, Graham et al. (1995) and Graham (1999) reported maximum female size as at least 130 cm and 20 kg. Males attain a maximum size of at least 110 cm total length (TL) (Graham et al. 1997) and 8 kg (Graham 1999). Females mature at approx. 107 cm TL and males are mature by 91 cm TL (K. Graham, NSW Fisheries, pers. comm. Feb 2003).

The minimum size of specimens collected in research vessel trawls off New South Wales was 30 cm (Graham et al. 1996). It is inferred that size at birth is probably approx. 30 cm.

Like Squatina australis, this species is presumably ovoviviparous with litters up to 20 young (Michael 2001), although there is no known specific data on litter sizes in the literature. Gestation period unknown but a similar species (S. californica) overseas has a gestation period of 10 months (Michael 2001).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The flesh of angel sharks is excellent eating and is marketed as angel shark, boneless fillets and monkfish (Last and Stevens 1994).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Angel sharks are not very susceptible to line or mesh netting techniques, but are susceptible to trawling as they lay on the bottom (T.I. Walker pers. comm. March 2003).

Demersal trawling (South East Trawl Fishery, SETF) in south-eastern Australia between northern Victoria and central NSW continues to threaten its populations in the southern part of its range where it is thought to be more abundant. Graham et al. (1997) documented a 96% decline (32.6 kg/h in 1976-77 to 1.3 kg/h in 1996-97) in catches across all areas in fishery-independent trawl surveys from the Sydney area (central NSW) to the Eden / Gabo Island Area (southern NSW/Victoria border). In addition, significant reductions in the mean sizes of large Squatina sp. nov. A were observed (Graham et al. 1997). This area only represents about a quarter of the total range of this species. The species is not (or rarely) harvested in the northern half of its range. Graham et al. (2001) noted that the present levels of trawling in the SETF and NSW Prawn Trawl Fishery were sufficient to keep the numbers of Squatina sp. nov. A comparatively low.

The flesh of angel sharks is excellent eating and is marketed as angel shark, boneless fillets and monkfish (Last and Stevens 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are in place for this species. However, there are large areas that are not trawled in the northern part of its range.

Citation: Pogonoski, J. & Pollard, D. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Squatina albipunctata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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