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The living chimaeriformes includes thee families’ callorhinchidae, rhinochimaeridae and chimaeridae, each of which is distinguished by different snout morphology.
The chimaeras are sometimes split into two different groups, the longnose and shortnose chimaeras. The longnose chimaeras form the family rhinochimaeridae which are among the deepest recorded chimaeras found. The Smallspine Spookfish (Harriotta haeckeli) and the Narrownose Chimaera (Harriotta raleighana) both occur to at least 2,600 metres.
The taxonomic resolution for chimearids is poor at best, the Rabbitfish (Chimaera monstrosa) is one of the long established and well recognised species, but several misidentifications can still occur. There is an absence of reliable morphological characteristics for distinguishing the chimaera; the only means at present for species identification is by geographic location. The colour pattern is highly variable and may be limited in its usefulness for distinguishing species.
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