Irish Chimaeras

Rabbit fish, Chimaera monstrosa

Chimaeras are not actually Elasmobranchs but are included as part of a larger group of animals known as Chondrichthyes, based on the fact that they have a cartilaginous skeleton. They usually live in the deep ocean and very little is known about their biology.

As an important oceanic species, and a close relative of the Elasmobranchii, we include them in the remit of the Irish Elasmobranch Group.

They differ from elasmobranchs because they have

  • A single external gill opening
  • An operculum
  • Smooth skin
  • A fixed upper jaw
  • Three pairs of large grinding tooth plates

Species found in Irish waters include;

CHIMAERIDAE (Shortnose Chimaeras or Ratfishes)
Rabbitfish Chimaera monstrosa
Opaline Rabbitfish Chimaera opalescens
Large-eyed Rabbitfish Hydrolagus mirabilis
Ghost Shark Hydrolagus pallidus
Small-eyed Rabbitfish Hydrolagus affinis
RHINOCHIMAERIDAE (Longnose Chimaeras)
Straightnose Rabbitfish Rhinochimaera atlantica
Bentnose Rabbitfish Harriotta raleighana
Smallspine Spookfish Harriotta haeckeli

The above list is only possible with a huge thanks to Declan Quigley for his boundless passion and dedicated investigations and record keeping