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Hydrolagus purpurescens

(Purple Ghostshark)


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Family : Shortnose chimaeras or ratfishes ; Oviparous [1]. Eggs are encased in horny shells [1].

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Czech:

Chim, Chiméra purpurová

Common Names in Danish:

Lilla havmus

Common Names in English:

purple chimaera, Purple Ghostshark, Ratfish

Common Names in Japanese:

Murasaki ginzame, Murasaki-ginzame

Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

紫色兔銀鮫, 紫色兔银鲛

Common Names in Vietnamese:

Purple chimaera


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Biome: Marine [2].

Ecology: Benthopelagic species that lives on the upper to middle slope and deep seamounts and troughs . Occurs at depths of 920 to 1,130 m off Japan, with the type specimen collected from 1,750 to 1,951 m off Hawaii. May be more widespread in deeper waters.

Oviparous , although nothing is known of reproductive biology . Eggs , hatchlings and small juveniles are rarely if ever collected. Diet probably consists of a variety of benthic invertebrates . Like other large chimaeroids , this may be a slow-growing species with low fecundity .

Life history parameters
Age at maturity (years): Unknown.
Size at maturity (total/body length ): ~100 cm TL (~55 to 60 cm BDL).
Longevity (years): Unknown.
Maximum size (total/body length): 138 cm TL; 89 cm BDL (probably reaches ~150 cm TL).
Size at birth (cm): Unknown.
Average reproductive age (years): Unknown.
Gestation time (months): Unknown.
Reproductive periodicity: Unknown.
Average annual fecundity or litter size : Unknown.
Annual rate of population increase: Unknown.
Natural mortality: Unknown. (Ref. 278388).

List of Habitats :


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Chimaera gilberti Garman • Chimaera purpurescens Gilbert • Chimaera purpurescens Gilbert, 1905 • Hydrolagus eidolonHydrolagus purpurescens


Name Status: Accepted Name .

First described: Smith F. Gilbert The Habits of Asemum striatum and Criocephalus ferus. The Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1905: 165-176., 1905.

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 23-Jun-1998

This species is part of a complex of giant black or purple-black species of Hydrolagus, which includes H. affinis and all "affinis-like" species from Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and the southern Atlantic, and the Davison Seamount in the Eastern Central Pacific. The giant black Hydrolagus from the Atlantic is likely Hydrolagus affinis; however, the giant black or purple-black species of Hydrolagus from the Pacific may represent at least two separate species, one of which may be H. purpurescens.[2].

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Hydrolagus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 25 species and subspecies in this genus:

H. eidolon (Whitefin Wolf-Herring) · H. affinis (Smalleyed Rabbitfish Fish) · H. africanus (African Chimaera) · H. alberti (Gulf Chimaera) · H. alphus (Whitespot Ghostshark) · H. barbouri (Ninespot Chimaera) · H. bemisi (Pale Ghost Shark) · H. colliei (Pacific Ratfish) · H. deani (Philippine Chimaera) · H. homonycteris (Black Ghostshark) · H. lemures (Ghostly Scorpionfish) · H. macrophthalmus (Bigeye Chimaera) · H. marmoratus (Marbled Ghostshark) · H. matallanasi (Striped Rabbitfish) · H. mccoskeri (Galapagos Ghostshark) · H. melanophasma (Eastern Pacific Ghostshark) · H. mirabilis (Large-Eyed Rabbitfish) · H. mitsukurii (Ghost Shark) · H. novaezealandiae (Dark Electric Ray) · H. novaezelandiae (Mottled Ghostshark) · H. ogilbyi (Ogilby’s Ghostshark) · H. pallidus (Pale Chimaera) · H. purpurescens (Purple Ghostshark) · H. trolli (Pointy-Nosed Blue Chimaera) · H. waitei (Payara)

More Info

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Further Reading

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  1. Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen (1966). Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. [back]
  2. Dagit, D.D. 2006. Hydrolagus purpurescens. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-20