Are there rabbits under the sea? Well, sort of. They don’t have big, floppy ears or are covered in fur… but I find they are more mystical than just your regular run-of-the-mill rodent.
The Fins United Initiative is proud to introduce the Rabbit fish (Chimaera monstrosa), an animal that seems to be widespread and pretty abundant throughout the Northeast Atlantic. Chimaeras are usually not well studied, but this is one of the better known and most studied species. Still, even with this, data on their population structure, biology and ecology is limited.
Like many chimaera species, they are seen on the upper continental slope at 300 to 500 meters (m) deep with a reported maximum depth of 1,663 m. Like other deep-sea residents, they are taken by deepwater trawl fisheries as byproduct or a component of discarded bycatch. But don’t think these critters are only in deep waters! #Finfact: Rabbit fish are known to summer inshore meaning they go shallower and are seen at 40 to 100 m deep for this annual migration.
How about sex? Well rabbit fish are oviparous with seem to have a spawning season in spring and summer for the northern hemisphere. Like many other Chondrichthyans, they don’t mature until later in life (the IUCN says at 11.2 to 13.4 years for this species) and they live up to 30 years old.
Given that their preferred depth range is in the range of current fishing activity, it takes a few years to sexually mature, and it is often caught in fisheries, it is assessed as Near Threatened (NT) by the IUCN.
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.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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