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Latimeria1

Latimeria chalumnae

Latimeria is the only known living coelacanth lobe-finned fish. It is called a "living fossil" because it does not differ much from the coelacanths (like Caridosuctor) that lived on Earth before the time of dinosaurs millions of years ago.

Before the first Latimeria was discovered in 1938, scientist believed that all coelacanths were extinct. They had thought that the last ones died out in the late Cretaceous.

Latimeria chalumnae and Latimeria menadoensis are the two known species of Latimeria. L. chalumnae (West Indian Ocean coelacanth) is deep blue coloured and can be 2 m (6.5 ft) long. Its weight is 80 kg (176 lb). L. menadoensis (Indonesian coelacanth) is brown. It is at least 1.2 m (3.9 ft) long and weights 29 kg.

They live in the deep sea 700 m (2300 ft) below sea level, but are more commonly found at depths of 90 to 200 m. Latimerias are carnivores that hunt cuttlefish, squid, snipe eels, small sharks, and other creatures found in their deep reef and volcanic slope habitats. Scientists have infered that individual Latimerias may live as long as 80 to 100 years.

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