Chimaera monstrosa

Linnaeus, 1758

Rabbit fish
Classification: Holocephali Chimaeriformes Chimaeridae

Reference of the original description
Linné, C. (1758)
Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, regnum animale, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus differentiis synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Stockholm, Laurentii Salvii, 824pp.

Image of the original description
No image in first description.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Chimaera arctica, Chimaera argentea, Chimaera borealis, Chimaera cf. monstrosa, Chimaera cristata, Chimaera dubia, Chimaera mediterranea

Chimaera monstrosa
Syntype: NRM: 31334;
Chimaera arctica
XXXX: No types known;
Chimaera argentea
XXXX: No types known;
Chimaera borealis
XXXX: No types known;
Chimaera cristata
XXXX: No types known;
Chimaera dubia
Holotype: MB: T.111 (141) (destroyed in 1978 fire);
Chimaera mediterranea
XXXX: No types known;

Description :

Citation: Chimaera monstrosa Linnaeus, 1758: In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 06/2024

Please send your images of "Chimaera monstrosa" to

Chimaera monstrosa Linnaeus, 1758, adult male, Gravdalsviken (60.392, 5.259), Norway, on the 07/02/2020, between 20 and 29m depth © Justine Siegwald, Department of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, Norway
Common names
deu \(T\) Chimäre, deu \(T\) Meerkatze, deu \(T\) Seekatze, deu \(T\) Seeratte, deu \(T\) Spöke, spa Borrico, spa Escopeta, spa Gata moixa, spa Gato, spa Gato de mar, spa Guinea, spa Quimera, spa Quimera común, fra \(T\) Cat, fra \(T\) Chimère, fra \(T\) Chimère commune, fra \(T\) Lapin, fra \(T\) Masca, fra \(T\) Masco, fra \(T\) Monstrueuse, fra \(T\) Peis fera, fra \(T\) Rat de mer, fra \(T\) Roi des harengs, fra \(T\) Singe de mer, eng Chimaera, eng Ghost shark, eng King of the herring, eng Rabbit fish, eng Rabbit-fish, eng Rabbitfish, eng Rat fish, eng Ratfish, eng Rattail, eng Sea rat, ita Chimera, ita Chimera mostruosa, ita Gatta di mare, ita Pisci jatta, ita Re di aringhe, por Quimera, por Ratazana, Rabbit fish(eng Rat-tail

Short Description
Description after Ebert & Stehmann, 2013 [17836]: Field Marks: A reddish-brown body coloration with light mottling and longitudinal stripes on dorsal side of trunk, extending onto paired and median fins; pelvic claspers long and slender, divided for more than the distal one-third their length; distal edge of pelvic fins straight, not rounded. Diagnostic Features: Body elongate, slender, tapering from head to whiplike tail filament; caudal filament length 44 to 160% of total body length. Head large, snout somewhat conical, gently pointed. Eyes large, 25 to 51% head length. Lateral line canals on head appear as open grooves, canals on the snout characterized by wide dilations. Preopercular and oral lateral line canals branch together at their junction with the infraorbital canal. On rare occasions a variation of this pattern is seen in which the oral and preopercular canals share a tiny common branch. Pectoral fins narrow and triangular in shape, reach to, and just beyond, origin of pelvic fin; pelvic fin squared along its distal edge. Pelvic claspers long, slender, divided distally for nearly one-half their length; long, fleshy tips covered with a shagreen of denticles. First dorsal fin high, triangular, with a short fin–base, fin preceded by a keeled spine, strongly serrate along the posterior edge of the distal tip; spine tip when depressed reaches beyond distal tip of the first dorsal fin. Second dorsal fin long and continuous to upper caudal fin, relatively even along its length, slightly sloping posteriorly; anterior height 4 to 7% body length, posterior height 3 to 6%; lighter at the base with dark edge along distal margin. Anal fin short, low, and distinctly separate from lanceolate-shaped caudal fin. Caudal fin dorsal and ventral lobes nearly equal in height. Colour: an even reddish-brown mottled with pale splotches and stripes dorsally on the head, along the trunk, and onto the base of the fins, ventral surface an even pale gray-brown. Pectoral and pelvic–fin distal margins with distinctly dark edges in preserved specimens.

Eastern Atlantic: northern Norway and Iceland, Skagerrak and Kattegat south to Morocco including western Mediterranean (some isolated records from eastern part), Azores and Madeira Islands. Records from South Africa are questionable. Reported from Oshima, Japan (FMNH 89161) [3714]. Source:

Human uses
fisheries: minor commercial; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species

Oviparous; egg-capsules slender, club-shaped with narrow lateral membranes and a horny filament at the long pointed end, 17 cm long and 3 cm wide; deposited mainly in spring and summer. The embryos developing in about 9-12 months and hatch at 10 cm length. Usually found in deeper waters in southern latitudes, while in northern areas making a summer migration to 40-100 m. Sluggish.

Size / Weight / Age
150 cm TL (male/unsexed; [20241]); max. published weight: 2,500 g (Ref. 4645)

bathydemersal; oceanodromous [17660]; marine; depth range 40 - 1000 m (Ref. 4443), usually 300 - 500 m (Ref. 4443)

shark-references Species-ID=1435;

copyright by: Cessa Rauch, Department of Natural History, University Museum of Bergen, Norway

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Bipteria vetusta Kodádková, Bartošová-Sojková, Holzer & Fiala, 2015 [22121]

  • Chimaerohemecus trondheimensis Van Der Land, 1967 [10471] [7400] [19641] [28146]
  • Multicalyx elegans (Olsson, 1869) [10471]
  • Plagioporus minutus Poljanskii 1952 [10471]
  • Spinoplagioporus minutus (Polyansky, 1952) Skrjabin & Koval, 1958 [21505]

  • Caligus curtus Müller, 1785 [10471]
  • Caligus rapax Milne-Edwards, 1840 [10471]
  • Vanbenedenia kroyeri Malm, 1860 [10471]

  • Calliobdella nodulifera (Malm, 1863) [10471]