Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Creature Feature #117: Coelacanth

The Coelacanth stirred a lot of attention when one was fished up in 1938 - it had been considered extinct for 65 million years. Once there were a number of species, now there remains just two. Thay are large fish who make their home in deep ocean trenches (150 to 700m deep) off the coast of Africa. His skull is hinged, allowing him to raise his head whilst feeding on other fish. His fins, also, follow an interesting arrangement, leading to some suggestions that he may be an ancestor of  the first terrestrial life. His pectoral and Pelvic fins are not dismilar to that of terrestrial vertebrates. The young develop inside the mother, within a yolk-filled egg sac connected to her belly. As the youngsters grow, the sac decreases in size until eventually  she gives birth to up to 26 pups. Yes, like sharks, baby coelacanth are called pups.

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