"Fabulous monster with the body of goat, head of lion and tail of serpent, which was image of the frequent volcanic phenomenons in the Licia and that was imagined put out flames from the mouth."
"Non true thing, that seems, but it doesn't exist as the monstrous Chimaera doesn't exist.. " 

These are the definitions of the term Chimaera, the first one describes an imaginary mythological monster and the other one remembers as this word is synonymous of something that doesn't exist. 

Exists in the world instead the Chimaera monstrosa that, together to other 30 kinds, represents one of the more curious cartilagineous fishes than is known.
The Chimaera, or Ghost shark or Rabbitfish (common names of the Chimaera monstrosa) is in fact an atypical fish, it belongs to the class of the Chondroichthyes but its physical characteristics and habits estrange a lot from those of the sharks and of the rays. 

The placoid scales  miss in this cartilagineous fish, scales that covers its "cousins" sharks, in fact the skin of the chimera is completely naked. (except the pterigopodes)
Also the gills slits represent a particularity in the chimera, it is present in fact one for every side, covered only with a forgery cutaneous opercolous.
The tail doesn't introduce a superior lobe and one inferior, or the form of a crescent moon, but it is very long and filamentous.
The fourth characteristic that differentiates and makes the chimera so particular it is the great poisonous thorn prepared in front of the first dorsal fin. The thorn is serrated in the only back part and connected with a poisonous gland, with the possibility to inflict very painful wounds. 

Complete the general description of the chimera the great and leaning eyes, with a greenish coloration, the grey-silver or grey-greenish back, the white cream abdomen and a maximum length that can overcome the 100 cm. 

The mouth is small, in ventral position, endowed with two dental plates in the superior jaw and of one in that inferior, proper to eat small invertebrates (shellfishes and molluscs) and fishes. 

The small fishes of whom the chimera nourishes him are above all the herrings and from this this fish is calles also King of herrings.. 

The whole kind known are oviparous, the eggs capsules have a middle length of 15 cm and a filament to an extremity to have fixed on the fund. What we see in the image, is called clasper, that during the reproduction is probably used to stop the female.  

This so particular fish is present in the waters of the oriental Atlantic and in Mediterranean (especially in the western part, in Italy in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian sea). 

The eyes are very great in proportion to the rest of the body and this is explainable becouse the chimera swims to great depths, over 1000 m during the cold season, while reaches the 100-200 m in that warm.  In the deep in fact the brightness is practically absent and the great eyes serve also to exploit the smallest glint that arrives from the tall.. (only during the pursuits of the benches of herrings the Chimaera is present near the surface) 

The Chimaera is considered of scarce commercial value and for this motive is not actively fished by the man, it represents a secondary capture during the fishing..
A last curiosity is the fact that these samples seem to suit well to live in aquarium also reaching the reproduction and deposition of eggs.


Marco Angelozzi - www.prionace.it

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 foto presenti in questo articolo, senza il consenso dell'autore