coelacanthine /see'leuh kan"thuyn, -thin/, adj.
/see"leuh kanth'/, n.
a crossopterygian fish, Latimeria chalumnae, thought to have been extinct since the Cretaceous Period but found in 1938 off the coast of southern Africa.
[1605-15; < NL Coelacanthus orig. a genus name, equiv. to coel- COEL- + Gk -akanthos -spined, -thorned, adj. deriv of ákantha spine, thorn]

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Any lobe-finned bony fish of the order Crossopterygii.

Members of an extinct suborder are considered to have been the ancestors of land vertebrates. Modern coelacanths (genus Latimeria) are deep-sea fishes with hollow fin spines. They are powerful, heavy-bodied predators, with highly mobile, limblike fins. They average 5 ft (1.5 m) in length and weigh about 100 lbs (45 kg). Coelacanths appeared about 350 million years ago and were thought to have become extinct 80 million years ago until one was caught in 1938 near the southern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. A second species was discovered living near Indonesia in 1998.

Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)

Peter Green
Ardea Photographics

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 any of the lobe-finned bony fishes of the order Crossopterygii. Members of the related but extinct suborder Rhipidistia are considered to have been the ancestors of land vertebrates. In some systems of classification, the coelacanths and rhipidistians are considered separate orders, members of the subclass Crossopterygii.

      Modern coelacanths are deep-sea fishes of the family Latimeriidae. The name refers to their hollow fin spines (Greek: koilos, “hollow”; akantha, “spine”). The modern coelacanths are bigger than most fossil coelacanths and are powerful predators with heavy, mucilaginous bodies and highly mobile, limblike fins. They average 5 feet (1.5 m) in length and weigh about 100 pounds (45 kg). They are live-bearers that give birth to well-developed young.

      Coelacanths appeared about 350 million years ago and were abundant over much of the world; the genus Coelacanthus has been found as fossils in rocks from the end of the Permian, 245 million years ago, to the end of the Jurassic, 144 million years ago. Coelacanthus, like other coelacanths, showed a reduction in bone ossification and a general trend toward a marine mode of life away from the earlier freshwater environment.

      It was long supposed that coelacanths became extinct about 80 million years ago, but in 1938 a living member (Latimeria chalumnae) was netted in the Indian Ocean near the southern coast of Africa. Rewards were offered for more specimens, and in 1952 a second (named Malania anjouanae but not separable from Latimeria) was obtained from near the Comoros Islands. Numerous others have been caught in that area. It was later discovered that these fishes were well known to the islanders, who considered the flesh edible when dried and salted; the rough scales were used as an abrasive. A second species of Latimeria was discovered in Indonesia in 1998. It has been named L. menadoensis for the island of Manado Tua from which it was collected.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coelacanth — Temporal range: Devonian–Recent …   Wikipedia

  • coelacanth — 1857, from Mod.L. Coelacanthus (genus name, 1839, Agassiz), from Gk. koilos hollow (from PIE root *kel ; see CELL (Cf. cell)) + akantha spine (see ACRID (Cf. acrid)). So called from the hollow fin rays supporting the tail. Known only as a fossil …   Etymology dictionary

  • Coelacanth — C[oe]l a*canth (? or ?), a. [Gr. koi^los hollow + ? spine.] (Zo[ o]l.) Having hollow spines, as some ganoid fishes …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coelacanth — ► NOUN ▪ a large bony marine fish with a three lobed tail fin, known only from fossils until one was found alive in 1938. ORIGIN from Greek koilos hollow + akantha spine (because its fins have hollow spines) …   English terms dictionary

  • coelacanth — [sē′lə kanth΄] n. [< ModL Coelacanthus < Gr koilos (see COELE) + akantha, thorn (see ACANTHO )] any of an order (Coelacanthiformes) of lobefin fishes, now extinct except for the latimeria …   English World dictionary

  • coelacanth — UK [ˈsiːləkænθ] / US [ˈsɪləˌkænθ] noun [countable] Word forms coelacanth : singular coelacanth plural coelacanths a large fish that lives in the Indian Ocean and was previously thought to be extinct (= no longer exist) …   English dictionary

  • coelacanth — latimerija statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Latimeria chalumnae angl. coelacanth rus. латимерия ryšiai: platesnis terminas – latimerijos …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • coelacanth — noun Etymology: ultimately from Greek koilos hollow + akantha spine more at cave Date: 1857 any of an order (Coelacanthiformes) of lobe finned fishes known chiefly from Paleozoic and Mesozoic fossils …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coelacanth — noun /ˈsiː.lə.kænθ/ a) Either of two species of deep water fish, Latimeria chalumnae of the Indian Ocean and L. menadoensis of Indonesia. b) Any lobe finned fish in the order Coelacanthiformes, thought until 1938 to have been extinct for 70… …   Wiktionary

  • coelacanth —  for the ocean fish famed in scientific circles for its archaic qualities. Pronounced see luh kanth …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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