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Chimaera monstrosa

(Chim?re Commun)


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Family : Shortnose chimaeras or ratfishes ; Bathydemersal to benthopelagic generally between 300 and 500 m depth. Found in the upper continental slope . Usually found in deeper waters in southern latitudes , while making a summer inshore migration up to 40-100 m in the northern areas. Sluggish, usually occurring in small groups. Feeds mainly on bottom-living invertebrates . The single dorsal spine is sharp and pointed , and although only mildly venomous can inflict a painful wound. Oviparous . Males have a clasper on the forehead that is probably used to hold on to the female during copulation . Egg capsules are about 17 cm long; young look alike adults and hatch when 10 cm long. Common by-catch when trawling for shrimps in the North Sea or Skaggerak.

Near Threatened

Threat status

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Afrikaans:


Common Names in Albanian:

Kokenjersorja, Peshku lepur

Common Names in Arabic:

Arnab, ةعئاش ةفا

Common Names in Catalan:


Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:


Common Names in Croatian:

Čudnovati morski štakor, Morski , Morski štakor

Common Names in Czech:

Chiméra podivná, Morsk, Mořská kočka, Mořská krysa

Common Names in Danish:

Europ, Europæisk havmus, havmus

Common Names in Dutch:

Gewone draakvis

Common Names in English:

Cat, Chimaera, Ghost shark, King of the herring, Rabbit fish, Rabbit fish(Rat tail, Rabbit fish(Rat-tail, Rabbit-fish, Rabbitfish, Rat fish, Ratfish, rattail, Sea rat

Common Names in Faroese:

Havm, Havmús

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Chim?re Commun, Cat, Chim, Chimère, Chimère Commun, Chimère commune, Chimère monstrueuse, Lapin, Masca, Masco, Monstrueuse, Peis fera, Rat de mer, Roi des harengs, Singe de mer

Common Names in German:

Chim, Chimäre, Meerkatze, Seekatze, Seeratte, Sp, Spöke

Common Names in Greek:

Chimera, Gátos, Himera, Γάτος, Μούμπριζα, Χίμαιρα

Common Names in Greek, Modern:

Chimera, Gátos, Himera, Χίμαιρα

Common Names in Greek, Modern (1453):

Chimera, Gátos, Himera, Χίμαιρα

Common Names in Greek (modern):

Chimera, Gátos, Himera, Γάτος, Μούμπριζα, Χίμαιρα

Common Names in Icelandic:


Common Names in Italian:

Chimera, Chimera mostruosa, Gatta di mare, Pisci jatta, Re di aringhe

Common Names in Japanese:


Common Names in Maltese:

Far tal bahar, Far tal-bahar, Fenek tal bahar, Fenek tal-bahar, Gurdien tal bahar, Gurdien tal-bahar

Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

大西洋銀鮫, 大西洋银鲛

Common Names in Norwegian:

Hågylling, havmus

Common Names in Norwegian Nynorsk:


Common Names in Polish:

Chimera a przeraza, Chimera a. przeraza, Chimera pospolita

Common Names in Portuguese:

Gato, Quimera, Ratazana

Common Names in Russian:

Evropeiskaya khimera, Европейская химера, Химера ев

Common Names in Serbian:


Common Names in Spanish:

Borrico, Escopeta, Gata moixa, Gato, Gato de mar, Guinea, Quimera, Quimera Com, Quimera común

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Borrico, Escopeta, Gata moixa, Gato, Gato de mar, Guinea, Quimera, Quimera común

Common Names in Swedish:


Common Names in Turkish:


Common Names in Ukrainian:

Химера європейська


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May be found at depths of 40 to 1000 meters. Usually found at depths of 300 to 500 meters.

Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -4,321 meters (0 to -14,177 feet).[1]

Ecology: Chimaera monstrosa is a benthopelagic species that prefers upper to middle continental slope habitats at depths of 300 m to 500 m with a reported maximum depth of 1,663 m. Detailed bathymetrical distribution follows:

Depth distribution according to (Whitehead et al. 1984) is 50 m to 1,000 m and most abundant between 300 and 500 m. Ehrich (1983) however reports that this species is caught at depths of 173 m to 1,663 m to the west of the British Isles. Highest densities were found between 500 m and 700 m. Hareide et al. (1997) reports collection of this species between 630 m and 825 m from the western slope of the Porcupine Bank. No specimens were found between 825 m and 1,400 m. In the Mediterranean Sea this species is abundant in all areas, from 100 m depth, but it is most abundant between 500 m and 800 m (Baino et al. 2001, MEDITS Program). Sion et al. (2004) have also reported several specimens from Balearic Sea at depths of 650 m and from Eastern Ionian Sea at depth of 800 m.

Information from Norwegian exploratory surveys to Hatton Bank (1998-2000) shows a depth distribution of 590 m to 1,230 m in temperatures between 4.7 and 8°C. Additional information on distribution by depth and area, length distributions and CPUE data can be found from Irish and Norwegian trawl and longline survey data to the west of the British Isles and Hatton Bank. Summer inshore migrations to 40-100 m have been observed in some areas.

Provisional and unvalidated, age and growth characteristics determined by Calis et al. (2005), suggest that C. monstrosa is a typical "K-selected" species characterized by a slow growth rate, a long life expectancy, low fecundity , and a high age-at-maturity. In this study, the von Bertalanffy growth parameters were: L? = 78.87 (cm), K = 0.0673 per year and t0 = -0.513 (yr). The maximum age estimates observed were 30 years for male and 26 years for female Chimaera monstrosa. However, these ages probably underestimate the true maximum age of this species, owing to the limited sample size examined. Estimated age at first maturity was 13.4 years for males and 11.2 years for females.

Oviparous with an apparent spawning season in spring and summer. Nothing is known of early development. Diet consists mainly of bottom-dwelling invertebrates .[2].

List of Habitats:


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Oceanodromous .


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Chimaera arctica Gistel • Chimaera argentea Ascanius • Chimaera borealis Shaw • Chimaera cristata Faber • Chimaera dubia Osório • Chimaera mediterranea Risso


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 15-Apr-1994

Chimaera monstrosa is a long established and well-recognized species. Reports of this species from other parts of the world (e.g. , South Africa) are misidentifications . A long history of study indicates this species is restricted to the northeast Atlantic, northern part of the Eastern Central Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea , and the occurrence of populations of C. monstrosa outside this range is highly unlikely.[2].

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Chimaera

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 22 species and subspecies in this genus:

C. affinis (Smalleyed Rabbitfish) · C. africana (African Chimaera) · C. argiloba (Whitefin Chimaera) · C. bahamaensis (Bahamas Ghost Shark) · C. barbouri (Ninespot Chimaera) · C. callorynchus (Elephant Fish) · C. colliei (Spotted Rattfish) · C. cubana (Conejo De Lo Alto) · C. deani (Philippine Chimaera) · C. fulva (Southern Chimaera) · C. jordani (Jordans Chimaera) · C. lignaria (Carpenter's Chimaera) · C. macrospina (Longspine Chimaera) · C. mirabilis (Large-Eyed Rabbitfish) · C. mitsukurii (Dark Ghost Shark) · C. monstrosa (Rabbit Fish(Rat-Tail) · C. notafricana (Cape Chimaera) · C. obscura (Shortspine Chimaera) · C. ogilbyi (Ogilbys Ghostshark) · C. owstoni (Owstons Chimaera) · C. panthera (Leopard Chimaera) · C. phantasma (Silver Chimaera)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 17, 2007:



  1. Mean = -759.140 meters (-2,490.617 feet), Standard Deviation = 709.200 based on 373 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  2. Dagit,D.D., Hareide, N. & Clò, S. 2007. Chimaera monstrosa. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 January 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-21