A coelacanth swims over the seabed


Coelacanths are living fossils. The whole group was thought to be extinct until a specimen was caught in 1938. There are two living species: the coelacanth and the Sulawesi coelacanth. They inhabit deep water, so are rarely seen and difficult to film.

Scientific name: Latimeria

Rank: Genus

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The following habitats are found across the Coelacanths distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Shallow seas Shallow seas
Shallow seas cover the continental shelves. These sunlit, or neritic, waters are where the oceans are most productive, where biomass is highest and where all the major sea fisheries of the world take their catches.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.


  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Bony fish
  5. Lobe-finned fishes
  6. Coelacanthiformes
  7. Latimeriidae
  8. Coelacanths

BBC News about Coelacanths

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