© Johan Boshoff


Coelacanth (Latimeriidae)


Old Four Legs


A coelacanth can reach up to 1.7m.


Coelacanths have stocky bodies and big, bony scales that overlap. They are a dark blue metallic colour, marked with light spots over the body.

Coelacanth General Info

The coelacanth belongs to the Latimeriidae, which comprises of one genus and two species. These fish are ovoviviparous nocturnal hunters, and hard to spot as they live in deep waters – 100 to 400m deep in caves and cracks. They were thought to be extinct for some time but were then rediscovered in 1938. Using their pectoral and anal fins, they swim in a motion similar to walking.

Coelacanth Feeding

Coelacanths are opportunistic feeders with very slow metabolism, therefore not requiring much food to survive. They eat eels, skates and sea reef fish.

Coelacanth Distribution

Coelacanths can be found in South Africa in Sodwana. They also occur in Comoros and Indonesia.