IUCN Species of the Day: Sulawesi Coelacanth


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Peter Scoones


The Sulawesi Coelacanth, Latimeria menadoensis, is classified as ‘VULNERABLE’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.  Coelacanths were thought to be extinct; however, in 1997 a discovery of Latimeria menadoensis was made off the northern Sulawesi coast, Indonesia.

The Sulawesi Coelacanth can be found at depths of ~150-200m on rocky slopes or in caves.  Not much is known about them and few observations have been made in the wild.  The major threats to the species include by-catch in deep-water shark nets, and hook-and-line finishing for deep-water groupers.  This species has also recently been targeted for live capture and exhibition in large aquaria, although no individuals have been successfully kept alive.

Current conservation efforts to preserve these “living fossils” are becoming more stringent.  The Sulawesi Coelacanth is currently protected under Indonesian fishing regulations with the recent ban on shark nets in the Bunakem National Park, as well as international trade protection under CITES.  Continued research will help to provide more information on this species to establish future protection measures.


Geographic Range of the Sulawesi CoelacanthCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

To learn more about the Sulawesi Coelacanth, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by clicking their logo below.



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