We have talked about the elephants on the sea before. The one we're about to introduce you to is Callorhinchus callorynchus, also known as the ploughnose chimaera or plownose chimaera.
With a widespread range around southern South America, you can observe these animals off Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil. They are captured year-round as part of commercial bottom trawl fisheries in some countries, but not in worrying numbers-- plus, scientists don't know too much of their population numbers or structure. Founder mostly at depths of 90 to 130 metres, they are also captured on some fishing lines! The other species of elephantfish are sustainably fished, but are under strict management... and still, who knows how they are really doing.
While they usually range from the shore to about 170 metres deep, supposedly they are captured from about 481 metres off Chile. Found along the coast and continental shelf, they love rocky, sandy and/or muddy bottoms and have been found with eggs collected at depths of 20 to 40 metres, but also as deep as 104 metres (Di Giácomo and Perier 1994). Females get up to 102 cm total length (TL) and 85 cm TL for males. They are oviparous with spawning and reproductive behaviors similar to those described for C. milii and C. capensis. Mating and spawning occurs in spring and early summer with a primary spawning season from July to November.
Their diet is made up of invertebrates (i.e. bivalve molluscs, gastropods and polychaetes). The IUCN has assessed them as Least Concern (LC).
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THIS ANIMAL?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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