Four Pacific angel sharks were born at the Aquarium of Bay last week in San Francisco. These rare and unusual sharks were once plentiful off California but populations were decimated by overfishing in the 1980s. Researchers hope to learn more about how to protect wild angel sharks by studying the tiny pups.
Adult angel shark below
Four Angel Sharks Born at Aquarium of the Bay Very Rare Births Follow Natural Pupping Patterns
San Francisco, CA, May 26, 2009 -- Keeping in line with the pupping season for many local shark species, Aquarium of the Bay welcomed the births of four Pacific Angel Sharks in its Under the Bay exhibit today. Aquarium of the Bay is the only nature center to consistently exhibit, study and care for Pacific Angel Sharks, Squatina californica.
We’re thrilled to have these rare births at Aquarium of the Bay,” said Christina Slager, Director of Husbandry. “Very little is known about the reproductive behavior of these beautiful sharks, so the information we gather from these pups will be really valuable.”
The Aquarium’s Husbandry team moved the neonates from the exhibit into behind-the-scenes nursery tanks where they will be monitored hourly and kept safe from predators. The four pups weighed between 115 to 120 grams at birth with a total length between 21 and 24cm. Angel Sharks are ambush predators with wing-shaped pectoral fins, flattened bodies and gray, brown and black coloring. They camouflage themselves by hiding in the sand.
Aquarium of the Bay Foundation is funding a research project related to angel sharks. as well as one focused on the largest predators in the San Francisco Bay, Sevengill sharks, Notorynchus cepedianus. Both projects launched in 2008 and utilize coded tags and acoustic transmitters to monitor the animals. Data collected will be analyzed to learn more about the animals’ breeding patterns and migration in conjunction with tidal cycle, current flows and oceanographic data. The information will also be available to government agencies, with the hope of protecting the animals’ habitats.