Conservation and distribution

Distribution

Latimeria chalumnae has been discovered along the east coast of Africa and particularly around the Comoros islands. Latimeria menadoensis was found near Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Latimeria lives at various depths and will not survive if brought to the surface. They live in caves, at depths of around 100m and leave these at night to feed.

Conservation

Latimeria chalumnae is listed in CITES appendix I, of species threatened with extinction. This is due to fishing and hunting, and the species' low fecundity. Listing in CITES appendix I means that Latimeria specimens cannot be traded.

Threats

There has been a decline in observed individuals of Latimeria chalumnae since 1994, while population trends in L. menadoensis are not known.

The decline may be due to:

  • Latimeria often being caught accidentally in fishermen's nets
  • pressure from collectors illegally trying to collect specimens
  • Latimeria being ovoviviparous, meaning it gives birth to only a small number of live young
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