The Fins United Initiative is excited to bring the "Underrated Elasmobranch Spotlight" series through TFUI officer Jess Myers. Learn about the sharks not shown on the big screen through her beautiful artwork!
In correspondence with tonight’s Alien Sharks special, we shall take a look at a shark relative – the chimaera! Today’s spotlight animal isn’t a creature from Greek mythology, but one that actually swims in the depths of our oceans today.
The Spotted Ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) is a chimaera aptly named, for it is covered in spots with a spindly caudal tail. Chimaeras – also known as “ghost sharks” – are closely related to sharks but have a gill set up more like bony fish (with a protective covering). They have beak-like jaws that are fused to their skulls for crushing and grinding their prey. Like sharks, chimaeras have claspers, but the claspers can be found on top of their heads to help the males hold onto the females!
The spotted ratfish fall under least concern on the ICUN Red List. We don't know a lot about these species and therefore do not know what help they need (if any) from a conservation standpoint, and therefore the chimaeras should get more representation!
what underrated chondrichthyan do you think shark week should showcase?
More reading on chimaeras:
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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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