Chimaeras


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Chimaeras, ratfishes and ghost sharks are the common names for the members of the Chimaeridae family. The family members are distinguished by having short and rounded snout, erected first dorsal fin with a strong spine, broad pectoral fin, and long second dorsal fin. They have a long and pointed symmetrically tapered upper and lower tail lobes. Male chimaeras have head clasper located somewhere in between their eyes to aid in holding the female during mating. Similar to sharks and rays, they are cartilaginous fish, with no bone in the skeleton, no bony fin rays, and no bony plate scales. However, unlike sharks and rays, they have only 4 pairs of gill openings on the sides of the head, which are hidden by a pair of soft gill covers. Their dorsal spines are venomous.

Members of the Chimaeridae are found in both tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, mostly below 200 m. They feed on bottom invertebrates and small fishes, which are crushed or cut up by their tooth plates.

There are 2 genera and about 45 species worldwide. Hydrolagus genus are distinguished by their anal fin which is confluent with their caudal fin, while Chimaera genus anal fin and caudal fin separated. Malaysia has both genera but only 3 species. They are not very common in Malaysian, mainly only found in the deep water of Sabah and Sarawak, and rarely caught.

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Scientific Name: Chimaera phantasma Jordan & Snyder, 1900
English Name: Silver Chimaera, Ghost Shark
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 黑线银鲛 (Hēi xiàn yín jiāo), 拟大西洋银鲛 (Nǐ dàxīyáng yín jiāo), 黑翅沙 (Hēi chì shā), 鼠鱼 (Shǔ yú)
Local Malay Name: Yu Hantu, Ikan Tikus, Kimera Perak
Main Diagnostic Features: Silver when fresh. Lateral line canal that is undulated (wavy) along the entire length of the trunk.
Size: Maximum total length about 100 cm, commonly to 60 cm.
Remarks: A chimaera of the North Pacific continental shelves and upper slopes, from depths of 90 to 540 m.





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