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Sharks Chimaeras Skates and Rays: Chondrichthyes

Spotted Ratfish (hydrolagus Colliei): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Spotted ratfish have a bluntly pointed snout. The body is reddish to dark brown with silvery-blue and gold highlights. There are many small white spots on the head and along the sides and back. They are called ratfish because their teeth look like rodent incisors (ihn-SY-zrz), the sharp front teeth of a rat.

Geographic range: Spotted ratfish live in the Pacific Ocean from southeastern Alaska to northern Mexico.

Habitat: Spotted ratfish live near muddy, sandy, or rocky bottoms.

In the past, spotted ratfish were caught for their liver oil. (Brandon D. Cole/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Spotted ratfish eat bottom-dwelling invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), which are animals with no backbones such as earthworms or insects, and other fishes.

Behavior and reproduction: Spotted ratfish migrate or move from deeper to shallower waters. They tend to gather in groups based on age and sex. The eggs are fertilized (FUR-teh-lyezd) inside the female by sperm from the male. Two egg capsules are laid every seven to ten days for months.

Conservation status: Spotted ratfish are not threatened nor endangered.

Spotted ratfish and people: At one time spotted ratfish were fished for their liver oil. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesSharks Chimaeras Skates and Rays: Chondrichthyes - Physical Characteristics, Chimaeras, Sharks, Skates, Rays, And People, Conservation Status, Spotted Ratfish (hydrolagus Colliei): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BEHAVIOR AND REPRODUCT