The Angel Shark (also known as the Monkfish) was once common in coastal areas of the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. It has a wide, flattened body and large pectoral and pelvic fins that make it look almost like a type of ray. Back coloration is a mottled gray to brown. They generally lie well-camouflaged on the sea bottom under a layer of sand and debris. They attack in ambush on fish, skates, and invertebrates. At night, they may be more active and swim above the seafloor.
It can grow to almost 8 ft. long. Young hatch within the mother's body and are born alive after 8-10 months in litters of 7-25 every other year. They are not
considered dangerous to us, but may bite if provoked. The population has been badly cut by commercial fishing since the mid-20th century. Its slow reproduction rate makes it more difficult to make a comeback. This shark is considered critically endangered, being locally extinct over much of its former range.
Angel Sharks were described in the writings of Pliny and Aristotle. Swedish natural historian Carl Linnaeus documented the species in 1758. A substantial
population is said to remain in the Canary Islands. A captive breeding program has been started at Deep Sea World, North Queensferry in the U.K.
Photo: By Donald Flescher, NOAA/NEFSC - http://nefsc.noaa.gov/rcb/photogallery/sharks/sharks.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20004603