Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chimaera. 1. A fabulous monster of ancient classical fable, represented by Homer as having a lion's head, a goat's body, and a dragon's tail. It devastated Lycia, and was slain by Bellerophon. A carving from Asia Minor, now in the British Museum, represents it as a lion with the head and neck of a goat growing out of the back. It is found as a device in heraldry, and the name is used metaphorically to signify an extravagant and groundless fancy. Milton speaks of "chimeeras dire," and the word is used by Macaulay and by Tennyson.

2. A genus of cartilaginous fishes (q.v.), constituting, with Callorhynchus (from the South Pacific), the family Chimaeridae and the sub-order Holocephala. The type-genus is closely akin to the sharks and rays, between which and the ganoids it forms a connecting link. The species possess four branchial clefts covered by a fold of skin; the skin is naked, and there are no spiracles or spiral valve. There are three species: - C. colliei, from the west coast of North America; C. affinis, from the coast of Portugal; and C. monstrosa, the best known species, often called the king of the herrings, from its pursuit of these migratory fish. It is found on the coasts of Europe and Japan, and at the Cape of Good Hope. It is a very ugly fish, some three feet long, of a brownish colour, marbled with a lighter shade.