Chimaera monstrosa

Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Chimaera monstrosa Linnaeus, 1758

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Chimaera monstrosa Linnaeus, 1758 (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body greatly tapering from a massive head and trunk to a whip-like caudal filament. Snout short, somewhat conical and overhanging mouth. First dorsal fin short-based, triangular and high, with an even higher strong spine in front; second dorsal fin long, continuous to upper caudal fin, not more than one-third of height of first; anal fin short and low, distinctly separated from lancet-shaped caudal fin. Skin smooth except for denticles on male organs. Colour: blue or greenish-silvery on back and flanks, mottled longitudinally with brown spots and undulating stripes, sometimes in a net-like pattern, creamy below; fins greyish, a black margin to dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Size: to about 100 cm TL (depending on length of caudal filament).

Habitat: benthopelagic in the upper continental slope area at 300-500 m, occasionally to 1,000 m; common; usually found in deeper waters in southern latitudes, while in northern areas making a summer inshore migration to 40-100 m; sluggish, usually occurring in small groups. Food: mainly bottom-living invertebrates. Reproduction: oviparous; eggcapsules slender, club-shaped, with narrow lateral membranes and a horny filament at the long pointed end; deposited mainly in spring and summer.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts northward from Morocco (also Madeira and the Azores) to Iceland, northern part of Norway and northern North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat; also Mediterranean (only some isolated records from eastern part). Elsewhere, some records from South Africa, but questionable.

Eggs,embryonic and young stages. Grieg, 1896: 12-13, fig. 1 | Dean, 1906: 35, 113-114, fig. 17, 91-92 | Holt and Byrne, 1910: 9, pl. IV (fig. 3) (egg-purse).