Part fish and part shark, the Callorhinchus milli is unique, being a Chimaera.
The Elephant Shark/Fish/Ghost Fish has a skeleton of cartilage like sharks and rays, they have only one gill opening, are minus denticles, and their teeth are fused into plates.
Their habitat is on the continental slope in deep water, and it uses it’s unique trunk-like ”snout” to probe the sea floor for invertebrates and small fish. Given that, how do we on the Surf Coast encounter them?
After the females reach 16 years x they are able to reproduce. They make a journey towards the shore, needing the shallow waters of bays and estuaries, to lay one of two eggs, then they return to their deeper waters. They reproduce only every two years if not caught by fisherman during the journey in shallower waters.
The egg case is fantastically shaped to settle just below the sand.
The pups need to be in their egg case for eight months before they are ready to hatch. Occasionally we may see a fresh egg case, like this one, or the remains of a darker brown coloured case, once the pup has hatched, washed ashore after big swell during winter.
If you find one that is still occupied, gently return it to the ocean. (I often find a rip to place them in to give the best chance of it being taken behind the breaking waves.)
Happy Marine Monday exploring day to you
-Post and Image by Rebecca Hosking @ FERMS