The Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnaeor Latimeria menadoensis) is a large, rare, deep sea marine (saltwater) fish. It is a lobe-finned fish related to the Lungfish. The word Coelacanth means ‘hollow spine’ which refers to its hollow spine fins. It is often referred to as a ‘living fossil.’
The Coelacanth is a plump, heavy fish with a three-lobed caudal (vertical) fin. It has a secondary tail that extends past the primary tail. It has thick scales like armour. Its eyes are very large.
It grows to about 200 centimetres (79 inches) long.
The Coelacanth is native to the Indian Ocean, in the waters off the east coast of Africa, the south coast of Africa, and also in the Indonesian Ocean. It likes caves.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It rests in caves during the day. It is piscivorous because it eats mainly fish. It also eats cuttlefish and eels.
The Coelacanth has unique locomotion because it has a lot of fins. It can move up and down, do head-stands, and swim upside down.
It is ovoviviparous, which means that the female’s eggs grow inside her body for over a year. The eggs hatch inside her body and she gives birth to live young.
It is estimated to live for about 60 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM