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Spotted Ratfish Pictures in the
Shark Pictures Database
flat, duckbill shaped snout containing incisor shaped teeth. Large eyes.
Prominent, venomous spine at leading edge of dorsal fin. Tapering tail
constitutes almost half overall length. Coloration brown or grey with
white spots. Skin smooth and scaleless. Can give off an iridescent, silvery
sheen. Triangular pectoral fins well developed. Fins grey or dark.
to 97cm in length.
and mud bottoms and sometimes rocky reefs. from 0 to 3000ft.
Abundance and distribution:
Southeastern Alaska to Central Baja. Common from British Columbia to Northern
slowly across sand in search of prey. Crushes clams, crabs, and shrimp
etc. in forward facing "incisors". Food located primarily by smell.
Uses its pectoral fins for locomotion.
After elaborate courtship rituals the female lays a spoon shaped egg capsule.
The extrusion process can last 18 to 30 hours and the capsule is retained on
thin tendrils for between four to six days until finally caught on the seabed or
planted in the sand.
The IUCN lists the spotted ratfish as LEAST CONCERN.
However, although there
is no directed fishery for Spotted Ratfish, this species is reported a
bycatch in groundfish bottom trawl gear, and discard mortality as bycatch
may impact this species. Although reported landings are minimal, it is
likely that the number of ratfish discarded at sea is quite large, given
their abundance and vulnerability to trawl gear.
point ( ratfish), Maple bay (egg capsule), Vancouver Island, Canada.
Reaction to divers:
the day moves slowly. With patience it is possible to get quite close. Although
able to inflict a mildly toxic wound, it is not aggressive and prefers to
maintain a safe distance.
In British Columbia this Chimaera is quite easy to find. One very nice dive is
off of the Ogden Point breakwater. This is a 1km long jetty that runs away from
shore into about 120ft of water. From about 2/3rds of the way along, the water
is deep enough to support ratfish. To find them simply take a compass
reading away from the breakwater and head directly out into the sand. The
terrain is fairly featureless and unappealing but supports a reasonable number
of ratfish. I have seen about 10 ratfish within a few minutes here at about 80ft
in November. Ogden Point Breakwater has a full service dive shop at its base and
offers air and nitrox fills. The walk out can be a bit challenging in full gear.
The breakwater itself offers excellent shore diving with opportunities to see
wolf eels and giant pacific octopuses. Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) may
be encountered at the far end of the breakwater but this area is deep and
Spotted Ratfish Article on Elasmodiver.
Pacific Fishes of Canada - J.L.Hart.
Fisheries Research board of Canada. Ottawa 1973.
Barnett, L.A.K., Ebert, D.A. & Dagit, D.D. 2015. Hydrolagus
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species2015: e.T60191A80678052. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T60191A80678052.en. Downloaded
on 14 December 2018.