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Chimaeriformes - chimaeras

ChimaeraThere are around 30 species in this order of fish. Chimaeras are found in temperate ocean waters around the world. Most species are found in deep ocean waters. Chimaeras range in size from 1-5 feet. Chimaeras are sometimes called ghost sharks or ratfish. Chimaeras seem to be a combination of lots of different animals! Like sharks and rays, they have cartilage instead of bone. They have four gill slits, smooth skin, large heads, and big eyes. They propel themselves through the water by flapping their large pectoral fins like wings. Chimaeras don't have sharp teeth like sharks.

chimaera They have one pair of grinding tooth plates in their lower jaw and two pairs of grinding tooth plates in their upper jaw that stick out of their mouth like a rabbit's teeth! They have thick bodies that taper to a long, thin rat-like tail. Males have three grasping organs. They have two graspers on their pelvis that they use when they are mating. They have one grasper with a hook on it on their heads that they use to catch a female. Female chimaeras have a dent in their heads that the hook fits into! Chimaeras have two dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin has a poisonous spine. The second dorsal fin is spineless. Chimaeras are found on the ocean floor and use their grinding tooth plates to eat clams, fish, and crustaceans.


 Callorhinchidae (elephant, plownosed chimaeras)
 Chimaeridae (shortnosed chimaeras)

 Rhinochimaeridae (longnosed chimaeras)