In detail

The coelacanth - profile


Surname: Coelacanth
Latin name: Coelacanthiformes
class: Fishes
size: Max. 2m body length
mass: up to 100kg
Older: 25 - 100 years
Appearance: greyish to bluish scales
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition typePhotos: Fish eater (piscivor)
food: smaller fish, eels
distribution: Indian Ocean
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: nocturnal
habitat: Ocean
natural enemies: Shark
sexual maturity: ?
mating season: ?
social behavior: ?
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the coelacanth

  • The coelacanth describes a two-species group within the bony fish.
  • Depending on the distribution area, a distinction is made between the Comoros coelacanth and the Manado coelacanth. The habitat of these species is limited to the deep oceans between Madagascar and the Comoros as well as the marine waters between the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi and Borneo.
  • There the coelacanths live in depths of up to seven hundred meters, where they thrive at a constant temperature of fifteen to twenty degrees Celsius.
  • The tooth-like projections on the coarse scales of the coelacanth protect him in the dark from injury through sharp and pointed rock edges.
  • On rocky slopes, coelacanth colonize caves that serve as hideouts during the day.
  • Coelacanths are considered living fossils that populated the oceans four hundred million years ago. That makes them almost twice as old as the dinosaurs.
  • The coelacanth was considered extinct for a long time, until in 1938 off the coast of South Africa by chance a specimen was fished out of the sea. It was already dead by the high pressure difference when it reached the water's surface. Fifteen years later another animal was caught outside the Comoros. Since then, the distinction between the two types applies.
  • Coelacanths can grow up to two meters long and one hundred kilograms, with the females being slightly larger than the males.
  • Scientists assume that they could be the ancestors of the first vertebrates with four feet as an intermediate form to amphibians.
  • As the coelacanth's abdominal and pectoral fins have a leg-like bone structure, they can literally move on the seabed. In the course of his nocturnal walks, he only looses what floats directly into his mouth. This makes him a particularly efficient energy saver.
  • The pectoral fins can be moved in a 180 ° turn, the large and powerful caudal fin makes the coelacanth also an excellent and fast swimmer.
  • Little is known about the exact life and diet of the coelacanth, as scientists can not study the fish living in the depths of the ocean in the wild. However, as some specimens could be caught by bait, it is believed that the coelacanth nourishes itself as a nocturnal hunter from other fish, conger eels, small sharks and rays.
  • Finds of female coelacanths show that the eggs of fish with the diameter of a tennis ball are strikingly large. There were both females with embryos found on a yolk sac, as well as specimens that carried several fully developed and already over thirty centimeters long pups in itself. Therefore, it is known today that coelacanths develop eggs, but the cubs grow up in the womb and are born alive.
  • The only predators of the coelacanths are big sharks.
  • The life expectancy of the coelacanth is estimated from finds to a maximum of one hundred years.