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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Rabbit Fish Chimaera monstrosa

Beautifully patterned with wavy brown and white lines, the rabbit fish belongs to a family called Chimaeridae, whose members have rounded snouts, long, tapering bodies, and tails ending in a long, thin filament, giving rise to their alternative name of ratfishes. The long, sharp spine in front of the first dorsal fin of the rabbit fish is venomous and can inflict a serious wound. Unlike sharks but in common with all other chimaeras, the rabbit fish can raise and lower this fin. The second dorsal fin is low and long and almost reaches the tail fin. Rabbit fish swim sluggishly in small groups and feed mainly on seabed invertebrates using their paired, rabbit-like teeth. These fish are often caught by accident in shrimp nets in the North Sea.

Rabbit Fish habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Chimaeriformes
  • Length Up to 5 ft (1.5 m)
  • Weight Up to 5 lb (2.5 kg)
  • Depth Typically 1,000–1,300 ft (300–400 m)
  • Distribution Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean