Making our way through the color wheel, our next stop is the giant purple chimaera, Chimaera lignaria, also known as the giant chimaera or carpenter’s chimaera. They should not be confused with Hydrolagus purpurescens, the purple chimaera. These chimaeras are a larger-bodied (up to 1.42 meters) species, with a massive head and trunk to complement its size. Like the brown chimaera, they have a spine preceding their first dorsal fin (equal to or shorter than the dorsal fin) and a low-lying, long second dorsal fin. Their spine also touches their second dorsal fin when depressed. Their skin, unlike the brown chimaeras, is not deciduous.
As its name gives away, they are purple-brown to a lavender color, with some faint stripes observed on their tail. Sometimes the top of their head is gray, given the individual. Immature purple chimaeras and juveniles seem to be a deeper, darker purple or brown, lending to the suggestion that the color may fade or change with age. These chimaeras as seen from Tasmania to New Zealand, but can possible have a larger range; New Zealand fisheries commonly collect them from Lord How Rise, West Norfolk Ridge, Hikurangi Trough, Chatham Rise and the Campbell Plateau. They tend to like deep water (400 – 1800 meters) on continental slopes.
Not much else is known of the biology of C. lignaria, but it can be assumed they resemble that of other chimaeras that are more well-known. We do know that they are oviparous!
Their IUCN assessment is currently Data Deficient (DD).
ever heard of this ghostshark?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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