The Ceolocanth


Basic Facts:

  • Size: up to 6.5 feet
  • Weight: up to 198 lbs
  • Life-span: up to 60 years
  • Deep-sea creature living in depths up to 2,300 feet below the surface
  • Two known species of Coelacanths:
    • One that lives near the Comoros Islands off the east coast of Africa
    • One found in the water off Sulawesi, Indonesia

Unique Characteristics:

  • paired lobes that extend away from the body like legs and move in an alternating pattern
  • hinged joint in the skull which allows the fish to widen its mouth for large prey
  • an oil filled tube called a notochord with serves as a backbone
  • thick scales
  • electro sensory rostral organ in its snout to detect prey

Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago around the time that dinosaurs reached extinction. In 1938, a Coelacanth was discovered by a South African museum curator. At this point, a debate was ignited about how this lobe-finned fish fits into the evolution of animals.

The Association for the Preservation of the Coelocanth:

Current Efforts:
  • Community Education
  • Providing alternatives for fisherman in order to avoid Coelacanth habitat

Immediate Needs:
  • Increasing aid to local fisherman
  • commitment from government authorities
  • training programs for local village leaders
  • funds for the establishment of the coelacanth park and environmental education center

Works Cited:

“Coelocanth.” Animals.National Geographic. National Geographic, 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010. <‌animals/‌fish/‌coelacanth/>.

“Coelocanths.” Aquatic Community. N.p., 2004. Web. 15 Oct. 2010. <‌mix/‌coelacanths.php>.

Leskovitz, Frank J. “English Text.” Association for the Preservation of the Coelocanth. gombessa.tripod, 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010. <‌index.html>.