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The chimaeras inhabit all of the world’s oceans with the exception of Arctic and Antarctic waters. Most species are deep dwellers of the shelf and slope off continental landmasses, oceanic seamounts and underwater ridges usually ranging from 200m to more than 2,600m in depth. They tend to prefer and aggregate near the bottom occurring on a number of different habitat substratum types, including sandy, muddy, rubble/rock bottoms or ooze.
Some species have a relatively restricted range, like the Rabbitfish for example, which is restricted to the Northeast Atlantic, northern part of the Eastern Central Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Most other species however are very widespread occurring in every ocean basin, like the Narrownose Chimaera (Harriotta raleighana). Many species reside in UK waters such as the Straightnose/Spearnose Chimaera (Rhinochimaera atlantica), Narrownose Chimaera (Hariotta raleighana), Smallspine Spookfish (Hariotta haeckeli), Rabbitfish (Chimaera monstrosa), Small-eyed Rabbitfish (Hydrolagus affinis), Large-eyed Rabbitfish (Hydrolagus mirabilis) and the Ghost Shark (Hydrolagus pallidus).
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