Habitat and Ecology
Though scientists have never observed coelacanths feeding in their natural habitat, analyses of stomach contents of captured specimens have shown that their diet includes cuttlefish, squid, and various small to medium-sized benthic fishes – including lantern fishes, cardinal fishes and deepwater snappers.
Coelacanths can weigh up to 100 kg, though an average size is closer 30 kg.They may live to an age of at least 22 years.
There are many unanswered questions about the ecology of Latimeria manadoensis.
A unique combination of morphological features suggest that the coelacanth lineage is close to the origin of the evolution of early terrestrial, four-legged animals (tetrapods) like amphibians. The most remarkable of these features is the presence of seven lobed fins, unique among the living fishes. The paired fins move in an alternating fashion which resembles a horse in a slow trot. Other interesting features include a small secondary "epicaudal" lobe on its tail, an oil-filled notochord instead of a backbone, an intercranial joint which is thought to allow them to widen their gape when capturing prey, and a unique electrosensory rostral organ that may be used to detect prey. While their morphological features lead many scientists to believe the coelacanth lineage was the direct link to tetrapods, recent molecular evidence suggests that lung fish might be more closely related to tetrapods (University of California Museum of Paleontology, website).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Latimeria menadoensis
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Latimeria menadoensis
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
This species is an extremely sought after aquarium fish, although no specimen has ever been successfully kept alive for aquarium display.
This species needs further research in all aspects of its ecology and biology and to determine the extent of its distribution, population size and trends. However it is an extremely difficult and expensive animal to study due to it's habitat time and deep water living.
Shark nets were outlawed in Bunaken National Park which includes Manado Tua where the first individuals were caught.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis, Indonesian: raja laut) is one of two living species of coelacanth, identifiable by its brown color. It is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. The other species, L. chalumnae (West Indian Ocean coelacanth) is listed as critically endangered.
On September 18, 1997, Arnaz and Mark Erdmann, traveling in Indonesia on their honeymoon, saw a strange fish enter the market at Manado Tua, on the island of Sulawesi. Mark thought it was a gombessa (Comoro coelacanth), although it was brown, not blue. An expert noticed their pictures on the Internet and realized its significance. Subsequently, the Erdmanns contacted local fishermen and asked for any future catches of the fish to be brought to them. A second Indonesian specimen, 1.2 m in length and weighing 29 kg., was captured alive on July 30, 1998. It lived for six hours, allowing scientists to photographically document its coloration, fin movements and general behavior. The specimen was preserved and donated to the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense (MZB), part of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).
DNA testing revealed that this specimen differed genetically from the Comorian population. Superficially, the Indonesian coelacanth, locally called raja laut ("King of the Sea"), appears to be the same as those found in the Comoros except that the background coloration of the skin is brownish-gray rather than bluish. This fish was described in a 1999 issue of Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des sciences Paris by Pouyaud et al. It was given the scientific name Latimeria menadoensis. In 2005, a molecular study estimated the divergence time between the two coelacanth species to be 40–30 mya.
On November 5, 2014 a fisherman found the species in his net. It was the seventh Indonesian coelacanth found in Indonesian water since 1998.
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- Erdmann, M. (2008). "Latimeria menadoensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Musick, J. A. (2000). "Latimeria chalumnae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2013-12-23.
- Jewett, Susan L., "On the Trail of the Coelacanth, a Living Fossil", The Washington Post, 1998-11-11, Retrieved on 2007-06-19.
- Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7
- Erdmann, Mark V. (April 1999). "An Account of the First Living Coelacanth known to Scientists from Indonesian Waters". Environmental Biology of Fishes (Springer Netherlands) 54 (#4): 439–443. doi:10.1023/A:1007584227315. 0378-1909 (Print) 1573-5133 (Online). Retrieved 2007-05-18.
- Holder, Mark T., Mark V. Erdmann, Thomas P. Wilcox, Roy L. Caldwell, and David M. Hillis (1999). "Two living species of coelacanths?". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96 (22): 12616–12620. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.22.12616. PMC 23015. PMID 10535971.
- Pouyaud, L., S. Wirjoatmodjo, I. Rachmatika, A. Tjakrawidjaja, R. Hadiaty, and W. Hadie (1999). "Une nouvelle espèce de coelacanthe: preuves génétiques et morphologiques". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des sciences Paris, Sciences de la vie / Life Sciences 322 (4): 261–267. doi:10.1016/S0764-4469(99)80061-4. PMID 10216801.
- Inoue J. G., M. Miya, B. Venkatesh, and M. Nishida (2005). "The mitochondrial genome of Indonesian coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis (Sarcopterygii: Coelacanthiformes) and divergence time estimation between the two coelacanths". Gene 349: 227–235. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2005.01.008. PMID 15777665.
- Gabriel Wahyu Titiyoga (November 15, 2014). "Another Pre-Historical Fish Caught in Sulawesi Water".
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