colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Chimaeras
Temporal range: Template:Fossil range


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Hydrolagus colliei
colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Scientific classification
colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Families


Chimaeras are cartilaginous fish in the order Chimaeriformes. They are related to the sharks and rays, and are sometimes called ghost sharks, ratfish (not to be confused with the rattails), or rabbitfishes.

Description and habits[edit | edit source]

Chimaeras live in temperate ocean floors at up to Template:Convert depth. They have elongated, soft bodies, with a bulky head and a single gill-opening. They grow up to Template:Convert in adult body length, although some also have a lengthy tail. In many species, the snout is modified into an elongated sensory organ.[2]

Like other members of the class Chondrichthyes, chimaeras have a skeleton constructed of cartilage. Their skin is smooth and lacks scales, and their color can range from black to brownish gray. For defense, most chimaeras have a venomous spine located in front of the dorsal fin.

Chimaeras resemble sharks in some ways: they employ claspers for internal fertilization of females and they lay eggs with leathery cases. However, unlike sharks, male chimaeras also have retractable sexual appendages on the forehead and in front of the pelvic fins.[2] They lay eggs in spindle-shaped leathery cases.[1]

They also differ from sharks in that their upper jaws are fused with their skulls and they have separate anal and urogenital openings. They lack the many sharp and replaceable teeth of sharks, having instead just three pairs of large permanent grinding tooth plates.[2]

Classification[edit | edit source]

In some classifications the chimaeras are included (as subclass Holocephali) in the class Chondrichthyes of cartilaginous fishes; in other systems this distinction may be raised to the level of class. Chimaeras also have some characteristics of bony fishes.

There are about forty species in six genera and three families:

File:Callorhinchus callorynchus.jpg

Elephantfish, Callorhinchus callorynchus

Family Callorhinchidae

File:Chimaera monstrosa.png

Chimaera monstrosa

Family Chimaeridae

File:Hydrolagus affinis.jpg

Smalleyed rabbitfish, Hydrolagus affinis

Family Rhinochimaeridae

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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bs:Himere ca:Quimeres de:Seekatzen es:Chimaeriformes fr:Holocephali it:Holocephali mk:Химера nl:Zeekatten (vissen) no:Helhodefisker oc:Holocephali pl:Chimerokształtne pt:Chimaeriformes ru:Химерообразные sr:Химере fi:Koppapäiset


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