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Indonesian coelacanth, Expo 2015

Superregnum : Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Ordo: Coelacanthiformes

Familia: Latimeriidae
Genus: Latimeria
Species: Latimeria menadoensis

Latimeria menadoensis Pouyaud et al., 1999

Pouyaud, L. et al. 1999: A new species of coelacanth. Comptes Rendus de l' Academie des Sciences (III), 322(4): 261–267. DOI: 10.1016/S0764-4469(99)80061-4

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Manado-Quastenflosser
English: King of the Sea, Menado coelacanth
español: Celacanto Indonesio
suomi: Sundanlatimeria

The Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis, Indonesian: raja laut) is one of two living species of coelacanth, identifiable by its brown color. It is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN,[1] while the other species, L. chalumnae (West Indian Ocean coelacanth) is listed as critically endangered.[3] Separate populations of the Indonesian coelacanth are found in the waters of north Sulawesi as well as Papua and West Papua.

Latimeria menadoensis featured in Indonesian stamp

On September 18, 1997, Arnaz and Mark Erdmann, traveling in Indonesia on their honeymoon, saw a strange fish in a market at Manado Tua, on the island of Sulawesi.[4] Mark Erdmann thought it was a gombessa (Comoro coelacanth), although it was brown, not blue. Erdmann took only a few photographs of the fish before it was sold. After confirming that the discovery was unique, Erdmann returned to Sulawesi in November 1997, interviewing fishermen to look for further examples.[5][6] In July 1998, a fisherman Om Lameh Sonatham caught a second Indonesian specimen, 1.2 m in length and weighing 29 kg on July 30, 1998, and handed the fish to Erdmann.[7] The fish was barely alive, but it lived for six hours, allowing Erdmann to photographically document its coloration, fin movements and general behavior. The specimen was preserved and donated to the Bogor Zoological Museum, part of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.[4] Erdmann's discovery was announced in Nature in September 1998.[8]

The fish collected by Erdmann was described in a 1999 issue of Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des sciences Paris by Pouyaud et al. It was given the scientific name Latimeria menadoensis (named after Manado where the specimen was found).[9] The description and its naming were published without the involvement or knowledge of Erdmann, who had been independently conducting research on the specimen at the time.[10] In response to Erdmann's complaints, Pouyaud and two other scientists asserted in a submission to Nature that they had been aware of the new species since 1995, predating the 1997 discovery. However the supplied photographic evidence of the purported earlier specimen, supposedly collected off southwest Java, was recognised as a crude forgery by the editorial team and the claim was never published.[11][12]

The fish is legally protected through the Minister of Forestry Regulation No. 7/1999.[13] However, it continued to be caught by local fishermen; on November 5, 2014, a fisherman found a specimen in his net, the seventh Indonesian coelacanth found in Indonesian waters since 1998.[14] Eight have been caught as of 2018.[15]

Superficially, the Indonesian coelacanth, known locally as raja laut ("king of the sea"), appears to be the same as those found in the Comoros except that the background coloration of the skin is brownish-gray rather than bluish. It has the same white mottling pattern as the Comorian coelacanth, but with flecks over the dorsal surface of its body and fins that appear golden due to the reflection of light.[8] It may grow to 1.4 meters long.[16][15]

DNA analysis has shown that the specimen obtained by Erdmann differed genetically from the Comorian population.[17][18] In 2005, a molecular study estimated the divergence time between the Indonesian and Comorian coelacanth species to be 30–40 mya. The two species show a 4.28% overall difference in their nucleotides.[19]

An analysis of a specimen recovered from Waigeo, West Papua in eastern Indonesia indicates that there may be another lineage of the Indonesian coelacanth, and the two lineages may have diverged 13 million years ago. Whether this new lineage represents a subspecies or a new species has yet to be determined.[20]

Teams of researchers using submersibles have recorded live sightings of the fish in the waters of Manado Tua and the Talise islands off north Sulawesi as well as in the waters of Biak in Papua.[21][22][15] These areas share similar steep rocky topography full of caves, which are the habitat of the fish. These coelacanths live in deep waters of around 150 metres or more, at a temperature between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.[21]
See also

West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)


Erdmann, M. (2008). "Latimeria menadoensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T135484A4129545. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T135484A4129545.en. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
"Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
Musick, J. A. (2000). "Latimeria chalumnae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2000: e.T11375A3274618. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2000.RLTS.T11375A3274618.en.
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"The Discovery". University of California Museum of Paleontology.
Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-25031-7
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Pouyaud, L.; S. Wirjoatmodjo; I. Rachmatika; A. Tjakrawidjaja; R. Hadiaty & W. Hadie (1999). "Une nouvelle espèce de coelacanthe: preuves génétiques et morphologiques". Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, Série III. 322 (4): 261–267. Bibcode:1999CRASG.322..261P. doi:10.1016/S0764-4469(99)80061-4. PMID 10216801.
Holden, C. (1999). "Dispute Over a Legendary Fish". Science. 284 (5411): 22–23. doi:10.1126/science.284.5411.22b. PMID 10215525. S2CID 5441807.
McCabe, H. & J. Wright (2000). "Tangled tale of a lost, stolen and disputed coelacanth". Nature. 406 (6792): 114. doi:10.1038/35018247. PMID 10910324.
McCabe, H. (2000). "Recriminations and confusion over 'fake' coelacanth photo". Nature. 406 (6794): 343. Bibcode:2000Natur.406..225M. doi:10.1038/35018716. PMID 10917500.
F. D. Hukom, Masamitsu Iwata, Augy Syahailatua, Teguh Peristiwady, Kawilarang W.A. Masengi, Dirhamsyah, Yoshitaka Abe. "History, Conservation and Research Program of Indonesian Coelacanth". 10th International Aquarium Congress Fukushima 2018 (PDF). pp. 122–126.
Gabriel Wahyu Titiyoga (November 15, 2014). "Another Pre-Historical Fish Caught in Sulawesi Water".
Masamitsu IWATA, Yoshitaka YABUMOTO, Toshiro SARUWATARI, Shinya YAMAUCHI, Kenichi FUJII, Rintaro ISHII, Toshiaki MORI, Frensly D. HUKOM, DIRHAMSYAH, Teguh PERISTIWADY, Augy SYAHAILATUA, Kawilarang W. A. MASENGI, Ixchel F. MANDAGI, Fransisco PANGALILA, Yoshitaka ABE (2019). "Field surveys on the Indonesian coelacanth, Latimeria menadoensis using remotely operated vehicles from 2005 to 2015". Bull. Kitakyushu Mus. Nat. Hist. Hum. Hist., Ser. A. 17: 49–56. doi:10.34522/kmnh.17.0_49.
H. Fricke, K. Hissmann, J. Schauer, M. Erdmann, M. K. Moosa & R. Plante (2000). "Biogeography of the Indonesian coelacanths". Nature. 403 (6765): 38. doi:10.1038/47400. PMID 10638741. S2CID 4387312.
Erdmann, Mark V. (April 1999). "An Account of the First Living Coelacanth known to Scientists from Indonesian Waters". Environmental Biology of Fishes. 54 (#4): 439–443. doi:10.1023/A:1007584227315. S2CID 46211870. 0378-1909 (Print) 1573-5133 (Online).
Holder, Mark T.; Mark V. Erdmann; Thomas P. Wilcox; Roy L. Caldwell & David M. Hillis (1999). "Two living species of coelacanths?". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 96 (22): 12616–12620. Bibcode:1999PNAS...9612616H. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.22.12616. PMC 23015. PMID 10535971.
Inoue J. G.; M. Miya; B. Venkatesh; M. Nishida (2005). "The mitochondrial genome of Indonesian coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis (Sarcopterygii: Coelacanthiformes) and divergence time estimation between the two coelacanths". Gene. 349: 227–235. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2005.01.008. PMID 15777665.
Kadarusman, Hagi Yulia Sugeha, Laurent Pouyaud, Régis Hocdé, Intanurfemi B Hismayasari, Endang Gunaisah, Santoso B Widiarto, Gulam Arafat, Ferliana Widyasari, David Mouillot, Emmanuel Paradis (13 January 2020). "A thirteen-million-year divergence between two lineages of Indonesian coelacanths". Scientific Reports. 10 (1): 192. Bibcode:2020NatSR..10..192K. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-57042-1. PMC 6957673. PMID 31932637.
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