While Melissa’s MSc research covers the chimaeras (all families), she’s the first to admit she knows close to nothing about them. Which is why writing this was such a treat—all the learning that went behind these blog posts! (It’s been a while since she had felt such a strong spark of renewed interest in learning) That’s why we’ll be focusing on New Zealand’s chimaeras before we move on to those worldwide.
The first up is the brown chimaera (Chimaera carophila), a decently-sized species (the maximum length being 1.03 metres) with a rounded, blunt snout. The spine preceding their first dorsal fin is actually taller than the dorsal fin itself, and when the dorsal fin and spine are flattened against the body of the brown chimaera, the spine actually touches the chimaera’s second dorsal fin (a low-lying, flattened thing). Their pectoral fins are long and triangular in shape while their pelvic fins are paddle-like.
Not much is known about the coloration of the brown chimaera when they are in the wild (i.e. alive), but in preservatives, the animal is a brownish colour (hence its name). There is some striping visible on their tail, and their snout tends to be a bit darker, but otherwise they are a pale brown. When caught as bycatch, their skin can flake off (it’s very delicate), which makes chimaeras hard to tell apart. This is especially difficult, given that this chimaera shares its habitat with those from Australia (mainly Chimaera fulva, C. macrospina, and C. obscura). The brown chimaera most closely resembles C. obscura, given their similar size and coloration.
The brown chimaera is endemic to New Zealand waters, primarily found in New Zealand’s Chatham Rise (and slope), Challenger Plateau, Campbell Plateau, Hikurangi Trough and Bounty Platform. It’s mostly common at about 1,000 m in depth, and are benthic, foraging for invertebrates and the occasional fish. Not much else is known of the biology of C. carophila, but it can be assumed they resemble that of other chimaeras that are more well-known.
They have not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List.
what did you think of this animal?
you may also like:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES