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Taxonomische classification
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Author: Bonaparte, 1840

Field Marks:
An angelshark with large thorns on snout and above eyes but not on midbaek, weakly bifurcated nasal barbels and weakly fringed anterior nasal flaps, the first dorsal origin usually well behind the pelvic rear tips, and prominent white spots on body.

Diagnostic Features:
Trunk rather slender. Anterior nasal barbels weakly bifurcated; posterior margin of anterior nasal flaps between nasal barbels and tips weakly fringed; distance from eye to spiracle less than 1.5 times eye diameter; dermal folds on sides of head without triangular lobes. Origin of first dorsal fin usually well behind free rear tips of pectoral fins; pectoral fins low and angular, rear tips of pectoral fins broadly subangular. Large spines present on snout and above eyes but usually absent from midback; lateral trunk denticles pointed and with three ridges. Colour: no large brown ocelli, but prominent white spots present in a symmetrical pattern on pectoral fins and on body.

Geographical Distribution:
Eastern Atlantic: Mediterranean and Morocco to Angola.

Habitat and Biology:
A warm-temperate and tropical angelshark of the eastern Atlantic continental shelves and upper slopes from 20 to 500 or more metres, mostly between 50 and 100 m, deeper in tropics. Ovoviviparous. Eats small fishes, including goatfishes.

Size:
Maximum totallength 160 cm, adult males to at least 140 cm, size at birth about 24 to 27 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Caught primarily in bottom trawls, but also in fixed bottom nets, on line gear, and occasionally even in pelagic trawls. Utilized fresh and dried salted for human consumption, for liver oil and hides used for leather.

Type material:
Holotype: None. Type Locality: Mediterranean off Italy.

Smoothback angelshark (Squatina oculata)