Title: West Indian Ocean coelacanth or African coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), often called ‘gombessa’ within the Comoros Islands
The place it lives: Off the east coast of Africa
What it eats: A wide range of fish and cephalopods, together with squid and cuttlefish.
Why it is superior: Scientists thought all coelacanths went extinct over 65 million years in the past — till the West Indian Ocean coelacanth was discovered by likelihood residing off the coast of South Africa in 1938 . Coelacanths first appeared over 400 million years in the past, however their fossil file stopped across the identical time because the dinosaurs disappeared. Their surprising reappearance means they’re what is named a Lazarus species.
These historical bony fish spend their days hiding inside caves and rising at night time to feed. They’ll develop as much as 6.5 toes (2 meters) lengthy and weigh as much as 198 kilos (90 kilograms).
These massive, primitive fish also can dwell for an extremely very long time.
Preliminary research prompt coelacanths have a most lifespan of 20 years. However this discovering was at odds with different elements of the fish’s life historical past, together with gradual metabolism and low oxygen absorption — traits usually related to longevity. In 2021, researchers used a complicated getting older approach to depend calcified buildings on coelacanth scales — like counting the expansion rings on a tree — and located they might dwell as much as 100 years.
The examine additionally discovered they’re gradual to achieve sexual maturity, with males breeding from the age of 40 and females from age 58. In addition they have the longest gestation interval of any recognized vertebrate, with pregnancies lasting 5 years.
That is not all. Coelacanths also can hunt whereas doing a headstand because of their particular skeleton, with most of their bone mass of their head and tail.
In 1997, virtually 60 years after the West Indian Ocean coelacanth’s rediscovery, scientists discovered one other coelacanth species in Indonesia. Recognized domestically as ‘raja laut’ (‘king of the ocean’), it was given the scientific title L. menadoensis.