Any of the 28 species of ancient fishes constituting the subclass Holocephali (class Chondrichthyes), found in temperate to cold waters of all oceans. Like sharks and rays, chimeras have a skeleton of cartilage rather than bone, and the males possess external reproductive organs (claspers). They have a single external gill opening, covered by a flap as in the bony fishes, on each side of the body. Males have a supplemental clasping organ that is unique among fishes. Chimeras have large pectoral and pelvic fins and two dorsal fins, the first preceded by a sharp spine. They range in length from 24 to 80 in. (60 to 200 cm) and in colour from silvery to blackish. They inhabit rivers, estuaries, coastal waters, and open ocean to depths of 8,000 ft (2,500 m) or more. They eat small fishes and invertebrates.
Variants of CHIMERA
chimera or chimaera
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