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All About the Coelacanth: Part 1

For those of you, who are still interested in the recent find of the coelacanth, dive into this article that explains a little more about this attention-grabbing species of fish. In this article, you will learn beyond the reproductive details, and discover exciting characteristics, life behaviors, and physical details.

 

Beyond the interesting feat that the coelacanth is/was able to give birth to live young, adult fish were known to grow to an average weight of 175 pounds. This is the measurement associated with the Latimeria chalumae species of coelacanth, which called the western Indian Ocean its home. The fish was also known to reach lengths of 6 ½ feet. As a rule of thumb, the females turned out to grow slightly larger than their male counterparts.

 

To indicate age, scientists found a way to date the age of a fish specimen by counting the growth rings located about their ear bones (called otoliths). An individual coelacanth was thought to mature into an 80 to 100-year old member of the fish community. Those who have caught a coelacanth must have had pretty deep lines because the fish lives in depth of 700 meters (which is the equivalent to 2300 feet) below sea level. Usually, depths of 90 to 200 meters also suited the fish.

 

As researchers analyzed the physical characteristics of living specimens, the fish showcased a rather attractive deep blue color, which may have aided the species in protecting themselves from prey. Specimens that dwelled in the Indonesian area are brown in color.

 

The eyes of the coelacanth are quite sensitive and are described as possessing tapetum lucidum, which means there is a reflecting layer located behind or sometimes within the retina of the eye. A wide-range of vertebrates is born with this characteristic, which means they are able to improve their vision in surrounding with very low light conditions.

 

Often, nocturnal animals are linked with this eye detail, such as cats, who are born with exceptional nighttime vision. In the case of the coelacanth, it is rarely seen during the nighttime or during nights when a full moon is brewing because of how sensitive their eyes are. There are also many rods that make up the eye of the coelacanth, where they are able to see in dim light. The dual action of the rods and taptum allows this species of fish to see well in dark water environments.

 

There are many other interesting details associated with the coelacanth, such as it is the only species known (still living) that has a functional intracranial joint, meaning that it possesses a separation from the front and the back halves of their skulls from inside of their body. It is believed that when this joint is flexed, the coelacanth is able to consume large-bodied prey through the process of suction.

 

In “All About the Coelacanth Part 2,” you will learn additional details about the species, including a rather unique way of protecting itself from becoming eaten by predators”¦.as well as people.