On the shelves of Russia, more and more often began to appear a fish called "sea rabbit" or "sea hare" (photo you can see in this article). Most often it is sold without heads, and many people have a question: “How does this fish actually look like?” It should be noted right away that sea hares are not only fish, but also representatives of seals. But here we are talking about fish.
Sea hares are nothing more than a European chimera. This is a demersal deep-sea marine fish, which belongs to the subclass of cartilaginous fused-skulled or whole-headed fish. To date, there is one order Chimaeriformes (chimaeriformes). They inhabit the shelves and slopes of the continental shallows at a depth of up to 2.5 thousand meters in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. From Norway and Iceland to the Mediterranean Sea, in the Barents Sea and off the coast of South Africa, bearded seals are found.
Chimeras are, though distant, relatives of modern sharks. They are sometimes referred to as "ghost sharks". In ancient times, these representatives of the oceans had common ancestors, but about 400 million years ago they were divided into 2 orders. Some began to live nearthe surface of the water, while others sank to the depths and eventually acquired the appearance of a modern chimera.
Sea hares usually do not exceed 1.5 meters in length, with a long and thin tail making up half of it. Their dorsal fins start from the middle of the back and end at the tip of the tail. In general, the fins of this fish are very similar to wings, and therefore it seems that they do not swim, but fly. In front of the fin, the sea hare fish (the photo clearly shows this) has poisonous spikes that perfectly protect them from enemies. But I must say that there are not so many chimeras of them. Their main enemies are large gluttonous female Indians. Great danger threatens young representatives of sea hares and it comes from their now distant relatives - sharks. In chimeras, skin color can range from gray to almost black. There may be contrasting large spots.
The sea hares themselves hunt, like other inhabitants of the depth, by touch. The only attribute to attract prey is a sensitive lateral line. Curious mollusks, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms and small fish tend to her, as if to the light. But such curiosity in most cases ends in the mouth of a chimera. And its strong jaws with 3 rows of very strong teeth easily split even the hardest shells.
Because of the habitat of these fish, it is very difficult to study them. Therefore, not much is known about their hunting methods, reproduction and habits. They practice internalfertilization. They reproduce with eggs. During this period, in the ovaries of females, they are found in large numbers and with varying degrees of development. The most mature of them are dressed in a cornea.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, bearded seals had no commercial value. First, they are very hard to get. And secondly, the meat of chimeras was considered inedible, and even today not everyone likes it. Although, probably, it needs to be able to cook correctly. In medicine, they used the fat extracted from their liver. It has also been used as a lubricant. But their eggs were a real treat.