RESEARCHERS DISCOVER THREE NEW SPECIES OF CHIMAERA
Chimaeras are cartilaginous fishes commonly known as ghost sharks. Their closest living relatives are sharks, skates and rays, though in evolutionary terms, they branched off from sharks nearly 400 million years ago. Today, they are largely confined to deep water environment.
Three new species of Chimaera are described from the Southwestern Indian Ocean, from seamounts of Walters Shoal, the Madagascar Ridge, and the Southwestern Indian Ridge. According to researchers, this is the first record of the genus in the Southwestern Indian Ocean, and brings the global total to 19 species. The new species presented here are distinguishable from their congeners by a combination of coloration, morphology, meristic, and genetics.
Seafarer’s Ghost Shark (Chimaera willwatchi): is distinguished by its brown-purple coloration and large body, blocky head with square snout, well-defined suborbital ridges, and a strong dorsal spine exceeding first dorsal apex.
The Falkor Chimaera (Chimaera didierae): can be distinguished by its light tan body color, slender body, short trunk, long tail, relatively robust spine, very small unpaired fins, and extremely deciduous skin.
Dark-mouth Chimaera (Chimaera buccanigella): is distinguished by its light tan body color, stocky body, short trunk, tapering rapidly into a long tail, long, very straight spine, skin not deciduous.