“Living fossil” fish captured in Zanzibar
July 16, 2007
Fishermen in Zanzibar have caught a coelacanth, reports Reuters.
The coelacanth was believed extinct since the age of the dinosaurs until an individual was captured off the coast of Southern African in 1938. Since then the fish has been found along the south-east African and in Indonesia, The “living fossil” is notable for its heavy body armor and prehistoric appearance.
Generally found at depths exceeding 300 feet (90 m), coelacanths occasionally show up in fish markets in Africa and Indonesia, usually captured as by-catch by fishermen seeking deepwater species. The fish are believed to be sexually mature at 20 years and live to 80-100 years old.
There are two recognized species of coelacanth, the “blue” species (Latimeria chalumnae) from the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa and the “brown” species (Latimeria menadoensis) from Indonesia.
The Zanzibari specimen weighed 27 kg (60 lb) and was 1.34 meters long according to a researcher with Zanzibar’s Institute of Marine Science.
Reuters has published photos taken of the rare coelacanth captured off the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on May 19, 2007. The coelacanth is fish species that dates back more than 400 million years in the fossil record.