UPDATE: View the video below, I have finally seen one of these magnificent creatures and videotaped it. This was a pup, perhaps 2 1/2 feet long.
Well, I went in did some research on Rich’s unidentified fish. He described it as a flat dish head that tapered down to tail. Big flying saucer head he said, with camo spots. he was lying in the sand on
the bottom before the rubble reef at Lauderdale by the Sea. This guy was seen yesterday (1/22/12) at about 4:30pm. Water temp approx 75 degrees with a bit of surge close to shore and current running to the North. I did not have the privilege of seeing this creature so I am going off heresay but I do have hubby here to help identify.
I do some googling and enter several key words to try. I type flat head sucker fish Florida, pancake shark fish, sucker shark, flat big head ray, then I type in types of unusual shark Florida. One the first page I find Angel shark. I call Richard over and he says “holy carp. that is it” I get some more pics and he confirms that this is it. I thought it was amusing because as we headed out, a couple of ethnic girls ( I use this rather than black, colored, urban or anything else that may be deemed non PC), asked what we see. Rich thought I would be funny to tell them sharks. Which we do, but he was having a bit of fun. He told them of course, this is where they live. They would definitely have had a heart attack if they knew this guy was in less than 4 feet of water in the tide.
Anyway, back to the Angel Shark.
This is where I wish I had taken my camera. But I promised! I borrowed these photos.
The Angel Shark is the only one in the group Squatiniformes. It has a flattened body, is raylike in appearance and mouth terminal. Many people mistake them for some other types of sea creature. It isn’t uncommon for them divers to think they are large stingrays. On an angel fish, check the fins out. They will not be on the head at all.
The Angel shark isn’t a meat eater. Instead it focuses on what it can find along the bottom of the ocean. Clams and mollusks often are a big part of their overall diet. They have camo coloring that gives them the ability to blend in well with the bottom of the ocean though so they often go undetected.
I wish I had seen this guy. I did see what i thought was a couple small rays but before I discount them next time, as just being rays, I am going to stop, slow down and take a closer look to see if it is an Angel Shark.