Ratfish (Hydrolagus sp.)

Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)

Description: Like sharks, ratfish are cartilaginous, meaning their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than bone. Also, similar to some sharks and rays, they lay strange leathery egg sacks that can take up to a year to hatch. Also called chimaeras, ratfish are mostly active at night cruising slowly above the seafloor. They use an electromagnetic sensor to find crabs, clams, and other crunchy treats like shrimp and seastars to eat.

Geographic Distribution

Figure 1: Relative probability of occurrence of Ratfish (Hydrolagus sp.) based on computer generated distribution maps. Data source: Aquamaps

Depth Profile

Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Ratfish (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.