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DistributionAtlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans in temperate to tropical waters, mostly below 200 m. Short and rounded snout. First dorsal fin erectile, with a strong spine; second dorsal fin long and low. Diphycercal tail, i.e. vertebral colum runs straight to the tip, dividing the caudal fin symmetrically. Anal fin confluent with caudal fin in Hydrolagus; separate in Chimaera. Feed on small fishes and bottom invertebrates. Males with head clasper. Oviparous; large tadpole-shaped egg capsules are deposited on substrate. Dorsal spine with associated poison gland, the venom of which hurts humans.