Family Chimaeridae

Shortnose Chimaeras

Shortnose Chimaera

Selected Characters: Blunt snout; no scales; large spine in front of dorsal fin; prominent lateral line; male has claspers and has clublike process on forehead.

Shortnose chimaeras belong to a very ancient group of cartilaginous fishes. They can be found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, often in deep water but occasionally near shore. A venom gland is associated with the dorsal spine; the venom is painful to humans but not particularly dangerous. There are about 21 species in this family and only one is found in Puget Sound. The Spotted Ratfish has a maximum length of nearly one meter. It eats clams, crustaceans and fishes, and swims slowly by waving its pectoral fins. This species is oviparous, the eggs extruded in 13-cm-long brown egg cases. The Spotted Ratfish is common in Puget Sound.

Puget Sound Species

Hydrolagus collieiSpotted Ratfish