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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Indonesian Coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis

When the Indonesian coelacanth was discovered in 1998, it was at first thought to be the same species as the one found in African waters (see Coelacanth). The two coelacanths are indeed very similar, but molecular studies suggest that they are different species. An entire ocean separates them, and because coelacanths are slow swimmers, the populations are not thought to mix. The Indonesian coelacanth has the same white markings and distinctive gold flecks as the African species, but it is brown rather than bluish. As yet, little is known of its life history, but because the Indonesian coelacanth is so physically similar to the African species, it probably has the same behavior and could therefore be endangered by fishing.

Indonesian Coelacanth habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Coelacanthiformes
  • Length Up to 4 ft (1.4 m)
  • Weight Up to 200 lb (90 kg)
  • Depth 490–655 ft (150–200 m)
  • Distribution Celebes Sea, north of Sulawesi, in the western Pacific