About This Fish

Elephant fish

The elephant Fish (Callorhinchus milii) is also known as an Elephant Shark, Australian Ghost shark, Southern Beauty, Makorepe, whitefish, or plownose chimaeras. It belongs to family Callorhinchidae under Order Chimaeriformes of Class Holocephali. The Elephant fish inhabits subtropical continental shelf waters of the Southwest Pacific adjoining Southern Australia and New Zealand. It occurs on continental shelves to depths of at least 200 meters and migrates into large estuaries and inshore bays in the spring to breed.

The elephant fish's skin is silvery white like aluminum foil with large brown blotches and bands. It has a long trunk like snout and electric organs near the base of the tail that produce mild electric discharge. Male has a small, club-like protuberance on the head and also long copulation organs near the pelvic fins. Caudal fin is heterocercal with an elongated upper lobe. It has two dorsal fins which are high and triangular and a large serrated spine is present in front of first dorsal fin. The Pectoral fin is large and the eye is greenish in color. The Elephant shark has only a single paired gill opening and smooth skin. It is benthic bottom dwelling fish which feeds mainly on shellfish. During spring, adult fish migrate into coastal bays and estuaries to spawn on the sandy or muddy bottom. It reaches sexual maturity at the age of five years. It is a slow growing fish which grows up to 120 cm in length.

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