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West Indian Ocean Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)

The West Indian Ocean Coelacanth or Latimeria chalumnae has brilliant blue pigments and flecks of white that covers its body. It was once thought to be extinct along with the rest of the fish in the Coelacanth order. There are only two known species still alive from this sometimes referred to as the Dinofish is sometimes known as the missing link between fish and the tetrapods.As you can tell by their name, the West Indian Ocean Coelacanth are found exclusively in the Indian Ocean. These fish are quite large growing to about 6-1/2' in length and weighing in at over 175lbs! Females of this species tend to be slightly larger than their male counterparts. They can live to about 60 years old and are ovoviparous, much like many sharks. This simply means that they give live birth. These species are listed as critically endangered, only 500 or so left in the entire world. You can check out some amazing footage of a Coelacanth underwater in the videos below...


West Indian Ocean Coelacanth have special hinges in their heads that allow them to swallow large prey. They also have a rosteral organ in the front of their head that helps them detect prey much like the Hammerhead Shark. For this reason, you will often see them doing "headstands" like in the video above. One last weird fact about this saltwater fish is that their bodies continually ooze out a large amount of oil, while their scales let out a mucus of sorts.

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