This species may be one of Melissa’s favorite solely for its coloration. Which might make her vain, but whatever. The leopard chimaera, Chimaera panthera, also has the coolest scientific name, in her opinion.
C. panthera is a large chimaera (1.29 meters) who, yes, does resemble a leopard with its reticulations and spots that cover all of its body. A light grey-brown to dark brown in color, they are certainly the most distinguishable of all chimaeras. They have a short, rounded snout and rather large eyes with a tall first dorsal fin (that is also equipped with a protective spine that is equal in height to the dorsal fin). The second dorsal fin, as we’ve seen present in the Chimaeridae family, is evenly long until the tip of the tail.
Their pectoral fins are triangular with a rounded tip, while their pelvic fins are large and rather round in shape. Their skin is smooth, and sometimes deciduous.
These chimaera are known from the deep waters off of the northern New Zealand Island (see Lord Howe Rise, West Norfolk Ridge, Colville Ridge and Ritchie Banks). Here, they can be observed at depths of 327 – 1020 meters; they are benthic.
Their reproductive method is oviparous, but because this is the rarest New Zealand chimaera, not much else is known about its biology. If you find a specimen, you should send it to the National Fish Collection so we can all learn more!
Their IUCN assessment is currently Data Deficient (DD).
ever heard of this chimaera?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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