Paddlenose Spookfish, Rhinochimaera africana Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert 1990

Other Names: Paddlenose Chimaera

Rhinochimaera africana. Source: CSIRO National Fish Collection. License: CC BY Attribution

A spookfish with a very long, paddle-shaped snout, and a tall dorsal fin with a short associated spine. The eyes are quite small, situated behind the mouth, and the lower caudal fin lobe is much longer than the upper.  Like most deepwater chimaeroids, very little is known of its biology.

Cite this page as:
Matt B. Reardon & Dianne J. Bray, Rhinochimaera africana in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024,

Paddlenose Spookfish, Rhinochimaera africana Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert 1990

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Recorded in Australia from off Northwest Cape, Western Australia. The species occurs elsewhere off Southern Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Australia - usually found on deepwater slopes and seamounts at 500-1500 m. 


Body elongate with an elongate, broad and paddle-shaped pointed snout extending anterior to head (SNL 47.7% HDL), tapering to a slender tail; the junction of supraorbital and infraorbital canals on ventral side of snout is closer to the tip of the snout than to the nasal canal; ONC/TIO is greater than 1.4 (ONC/TIO= 1.64); TIO/SWF is less than 1.5 (TIO/SWF= 1.47); TIO/LNC is less than 3.0 (TIO/LNC= 2.75); tooth-plates are nearly smooth; eyes are relatively small (EYL 6.4% BDL), distinctly behind level of mouth; the first and second dorsal fins are separated by a relatively long interdorsal space (IDS 23.6% BDL) and not connected by a web of skin; caudal-fin axis weakly raised with the fin asymmetrical, the epaxial caudal-fin lobe narrower than hypaxial lobe; dorsal caudal tubercles 25; caudal filament vestigial; coloration uniformly dark brown across entire body, except the oronasal region which is abruptly paler than the body (Angulo et al. 2014).


A poorly known species. Little is known of its biology, ecology or reproduction.


Taken as bycatch when encountered in Taiwan, and is landed in fish markets. Of no interest to fisheries elsewhere.

Species Citation

Rhinochimaera africana Compagno, Stehmann Ebert, Sth African J. Mar. Sci. 9: 206, figs 2-5. Type locality: Western Cape, west of Doring Bay, South Africa [31°59.8´S, 15°56.2´E]. 


Matt B. Reardon & Dianne J. Bray

Paddlenose Spookfish, Rhinochimaera africana Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert 1990


Angulo, A., López, M.I., Bussing, W.A. & Murase, A. 2014. Records of chimaeroid fishes (Holocephali: Chimaeriformes) from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, with the description of a new species of Chimera (Chimaeridae) from the eastern Pacific Ocean. Zootaxa 3861(6): 554-574.

Compagno, L.J.V., Stehmann, M. &Ebert, D.A. 1990. Rhinochimaera africana, a new longnose chimaera from southern Africa, with comments on the systematics and distribution of the genus Rhinochimaera Garman, 1901 (Chondrichthyes, Chimaeriformes, Rhinochimaeridae). South African Journal of Marine Science 9: 201–222.

Dagit, D.D. 2006. Rhinochimaera africana. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 01 June 2012.

Didier, D.A. & Nakaya, K. 1999. Redescription of Rhinochimaera pacifica (Mitsukuri) and first record of R. africana Compagno, Stehmann & Ebert from Japan (Chimaeriformes: Rhinochimaeridae). Ichthyological Research 46: 139–152.

Inada, T. 1997. Rhinochimaeridae. In: O. Okamura & K. Amaoka (eds). Sea Fishes of Japan. p:34. Yama-Kei Publishers Co. Ltd., Tokyo.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37044004

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient



Max Size:~150 cm TL

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