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The Chimaera ‘Ratfish’ Is One Ugly Catch (Pics)

by: AnthonyP On  Monday, June 21, 2010
Tags:  Chimaera   Fish   Rat Fish  

Chimaera

This is no record breaking largemouth bass, but what a catch anyway!

This is a real fish that was caught off the Mexican coast in May of last year. Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager of Pisces Sportfishing, said the fake-looking fish resembles “a seal, crossed with a baby marlin, that swallowed a chicken … it has feet!”

After initial confusion as to what the hell kind of fish this is, scientists later determined that it was, in fact, a black chimaera, or rat fish, or rabbit fish, or elephant fish, or ghost shark, or no, that’s it.  Mmm, that’s a lot of yummy combinations, yeah? I should have you know, though, that this fish was not consumed. It was instead used for research.

It turns out that Ehrenberg’s description of the fish, in jest, is not too far off from truth in terms of the number of different characteristics a rat fish possesses. Chimaeras, as their name suggests, have a variety of odd characteristics that set them apart from other fish. Their most distinctive features are their large heads and tiny, stream-like tails that force them to use their large pectoral fins.

These deep-sea fishes are in the Holocephali class, a sub-class of the Chondrichthyes. Sharks and rays are in the other class, Elasmobranchii.  There are supposedly 42 species of living chimaera divided into three classes. One has to believe this is a pretty rare catch and one truly worth celebrating, if you believe in that kind of thing.



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