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Scientific name: Callorhinchus milii, Harriotta haeckeli, H. raleighana
Family: Callorhinchidae (C. milii), Rhinochimaeridae (H. haeckeli, H. raleighana)
- C. milii: Ghost shark, elephant shark, whitefish, plownose chimaera
- H. haeckeli: Spookfish, smallspine spookfish
- H. raleighana: Spookfish, narrownose chimaera, longnosed chimaera, bigspine spookfish, bentnose rabbitfish
Elephant fish are a funny-looking fish with an almost entirely scaleless elongated body.
They have large pectoral fins and two dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is preceded by a large spine.
Elephant fish have a single gill opening immediately in front of the pectoral fin on each side of the fish.
The snout is covered in pores that sense movement and weak electrical fields, which are used in detecting prey.
Ghost sharks are silvery with dark markings, with a hoe-shaped proboscis-like snout.
The eyes are relatively large and set high on the head.
The tail fin is divided into 2 lobes, with the top one being larger than the bottom one.
Spookfish have dark brown or blackish bodies, with dark markings and paler bellies.
The snout is long, tapered and flattened. Males have longer snouts than females.
The dorsal fins of haeckeli are similar in size.
The first dorsal fin is over twice the height of the second dorsal fin in H. raleighana.
The tail is long and filamentous.
Size (length and weight):
Up to about 1.2 metres in length and 7 kg. Females grow larger than males.
Up to about 15 years for ghost sharks. Unknown for spookfish.
Elephant fish are a demersal species.
- Juveniles inhabit shallow coastal waters for about three years and gradually move into deeper water as they mature. Ghost sharks appear to school by gender.
- Spookfish are a deepwater species that occurs on the continental slope.
- They can be found in depths of 380‑2600 metres. h
- raleighana. Little is known about the habitat of spookfish. Adults and juveniles probably occupy different habitats.
Prey: Fish, shellfish and molluscs.
Predators: Larger fish and sharks.
Ghost sharks mature relatively early.
with males reaching reproductive maturity at 3 years of age .
and females reaching reproductive maturity at 4-5 years of age. They are oviparous (lay eggs).
Fishing gear and environmental impacts
Elephant fish are caught using gillnets, trawl nets or longlines.
minimal impact on the marine environment
Pelagic longline fishing has minimal impact on the marine environment as they hang in the water column not touching the seafloor.
Found in the South Pacific, they prefer the continental shelves of temperate waters.
They are primarily found along the southern coast of Australia, and in the waters surrounding Tasmania .
and New Zealand.
There are a few reports of them in the rivers of South Africa and Tasmania.
and along the southwestern coast of South America. (Allen, 1999;
(Allen, 1999; Ferrari and Ferrari, 2002; Reardon, et al., 2003)
are silver in color, and often have irregular dark blotches on the sides and fins.
They have a distinctive flexible, trunk-like projection at the tip of the snout.
is a type of chimaera, a cartilaginous fish related to sharks and rays.
Other characteristics include an elongate body, presence of an anal fin, an arched caudal fin.
and two widely spaced dorsal fins.
Mature males exhibit a unique head clasper.
an erupted tenaculum on a pre-pelvic clasper, and large calcified pelvic claspers.
This unusual family of ‘chimaera’ branched off from sharks almost 400 million years ago.
Their protruding snout is made to search for food prey in the sand, and is highly sensitive to electric fields and movement.
They have a dangerous spine just ahead of their dorsal fin, and sport fishers should handle this shark with caution.
English language common names include ghost shark, elephant fish,
elephant shark, silver trumpeter, and whitefish.
Other common names are Australská sloní ryba (Czech), elefanten-chimäre (German), makorepe (Maori), masca laboureur (French), and reperepe (Maori).
Danger to Humans
Ghost sharks have a long spine located just in front of the first dorsal fin and is used to defend themselves against potential predators.
The ghost shark is currently listed as “Least Concern” with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
There is a single gill opening immediately in front of the pectoral fin origin on each side of the fish.
The pectoral fins are large, providing a primary means of locomotion.
Predators of the ghost shark include larger fish including sharks.
Parasites of the ghost shark include the monogenean Callorhynchicola multitesticulatus.
as reported from a specimen caught in the waters off the eastern coast of New Zealand.
There have been numerous misspellings of this name including Callorhynchus milii, Callorhynchus milli,
and Callorhynchus millii. in reference to the appearance of this fish.
Synonyms appearing in past scientific literature include Callorhynchus tasmanius Richardson 1840,
Callorhynchus australis Owen 1854, and Callorhynchus dasycaudatus Colenso 1879.
The ghost shark resides in the southwestern Pacific Ocean along the temperate coasts of southern Australia and New Zealand.
How long do ghost sharks live?
Elephant seals are large, oceangoing earless seals in the genus Mirounga.
The two species, the northern elephant seal (M. angustirostris) and the southern elephant seal .
They are the largest extant carnivorans, weighing up to 4,000 kilograms (8,800 lb).
John Edward Gray established the genus Mirounga in 1827.
 The generic name Mirounga is a Latinization of miouroung.
Elephant seals are marine mammals classified under the order Pinnipedia.
which, in Latin, means feather- or fin-footed.
 Phocids (true seals) are characterized by having no external ear and reduced limbs.
 The reduction of their limbs helps them be more streamlined and move easily in the water
 These seals also possess a structure called the tapetum lucidum.
which helps their vision by having light reflected back to the retina.
to allow more chances for photoreceptors to detect light.