Spotted ratfish
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Spotted ratfish, Hydrolagus colliei

Spotted ratfish are one of artist Ray Troll's favorite ocean critters. These cartilaginous relatives of sharks live on the ocean floor to depths of over 3,000 feet from Baja, California, to Alaska, preying on shrimp, clams, worms, sea stars and smaller fish. Ratfish aren't taken commercially and it's hard to find anyone who will admit to have eaten one, but their weird beauty has made them famous to anyone who ever lowered a line to the bottom of the eastern Pacific. Female spotted ratfish produce only two eggs at a time, packaged in capsules that look like tiny violin cases.

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