Time and Tide Bell ~ #200Fish

A Continuing Arts Programme facing Lincolnshire's Coast

#200Fish is a community project to create works of art based on each of the species of fish found in the North Sea

To learn more and find out how to join the project click here.

Fish #04 Rabbitfish Chimaera monstrosa ~ Nikita Spires


For Sale


The rabbit fish, also known as a rat fish due to its long tail lives around the Eastern Atlantic, so northern Norway and Iceland. The rabbit fish has a mildly venomous spine that can cause painful stings, despite its innocent appearance. In Latin, its name chimaera means "marine monster", and it can grow up to 1.5 m (5 ft.) long, and weigh 2.5 kg. It's a relative of sharks, and typically found in small groups that feeds on bottom-living invertebrates. Sadly it's facing endangerment, even though the rabbit fish does not have any real commercial value they are caught in large numbers as the bycatch of deep-sea trawlers which is seriously depleting numbers.

I selected the rabbit fish as its name struck out on the list, and when I looked at its appearance I was fascinated. It looked so sweet and rabbit like, but has venomous spines. The name was intriguing and I wanted to have a play on the name and create a more rabbit like rabbit fish. As a young artist, I have just finished my art diploma, and currently taking a gap year. I specialise in ocean awareness, such as plastic pollution and endangerment of species. I am currently an 'artist in residence' at The Deep, in Hull.

Fish #04 Rabbitfish Chimaera monstrosa ~ Ashleigh Allen

Fish #04 Rabbitfish Chimaera monstrosa ~ Ashleigh Allen


Expect this to be quite a sinister fellow. The chimaera was a fire breathing creature, part goat and part lion, of Greek myth and 'monstrosa' is self-evident. It's also called the 'ratfish' (from its long tail) and the 'ghost shark'. There are venom bearing spines on its back, and the rabbitfish really is a distant relative of the shark - some species of the genus Siganus can grow up to 21 inches. (The claim in Fishbase of 1.5 metres seems to be mistaken though and, in any case, some rabbitfish are sold for aquariums!) But in all this you would be wrong - the rabbitfish has a placid personality and is rather a sluggish swimmer. Limited to the North East Atlantic and Mediterranean. Diurnal, it can live at depths up to 500 metres but grazes on near-surface algae, deeper depth zooplankton, and other plants. Quite pleasant really. Unfortunately it is also a constituent of a popular Far Eastern fish sauce and is 'near threatened' on the IUCN's Red List. SM.

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*Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is a not-for profit organisation, registered at Companies House. Company Number 10934941