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Spotted ratfish

Spotted ratfish

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Hydrolagus colliei

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    shrimp, clams, worms, sea stars, fishes

  • Size

    to 38 inches (1 m) for females; males are significantly smaller

  • Relatives

    Shortnose chimaeras or ratfishes

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    seafloor, to 3,300 feet (1,000 m); in Monterey Bay they are most common at 98-200 feet (30-61 m)

Natural History

These fish have smooth skin, large green eyes, a rabbitlike face and a mouth with plate-like grinding teeth. The tail is tiny and streamer-like, so for propulsion they flap their large, wing-like pectoral fins. Ratfish cruise just above the seafloor searching for crunchy food like crabs and clams.

Spotted ratfish are among the deepest-living fishes in Monterey Bay. They are related to sharks and are considered the missing link between the bony and cartilainous fishes because they have the characteristics of both.


Ratfish are caught accidentally in trawl fisheries.

Cool Facts

These fish have a long venemous spine in front of the dorsal fin.

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