Squatina mapama n. sp., a new cryptic species of angel shark

Published on
29 December 2021

Squatina mapama n. sp., a new cryptic species of angel shark (Elasmobranchii: Squatinidae) from the southwestern Caribbean Sea

Long, Douglas J.; Ebert, David A.; Tavera, Jose; Acero P., Arturo; Robertson, D.R.


Integrating both morphological and genetic data, we describe Squatina mapama, a new species of the angel shark genus Squatina, found on the upper continental slope off the Caribbean coast of Panamá. Distinguishing characters of S. mapama include a wider pectoral and pelvic span; a shorter head length; a narrower mouth; short fringed nasal flaps and barbels; a few large denticles on top of the head; a single dorsal midline row of slightly enlarged denticles from the level of the posterior insertion of the pelvic fin to the first dorsal fin and continuing past the first dorsal fin to the second dorsal-fin origin; and the presence of smaller scattered spots in males, which, in combination, allow separation of this new species from the closely related and sympatric species Squatina david. The new species can be distinguished from all other currently recognized Squatina species by meristic and morphometric measures, as well as by sequence differences in the mtDNA COI marker. Phylogenetic analysis shows Squatina mapama n. sp. to be a basal member of a small clade of western Atlantic Squatina species that includes Squatina occulta, Squatina guggenheim, and S. david, which likely evolved in the late Oligocene or Miocene period. We also report a western range extension of S. david from Colombia to the western Caribbean coast of Panamá.

Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation: 38 pp. 113-130. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5806693


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