Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 14th, 2009
You never can tell what you might stumble across at your local neighborhood aquarium gift store. Brent Swancer has informed me of the discovery of a robust Japanese replica of the Indonesian species of coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis). He found it during an excursion out with the family.
Unlike the 14cm long coelacanth figurine (below) in the “fossil fish” boxed set from Colorata, the unique, apparently limited release Indonesian species figurines (above) are slightly larger coelacanth replicas with the species-specific markings for Latimeria menadoensis.
The coloration on these replicas appear to be based on the Japanese video specimen. The Japanese team that filmed the Indonesian coelacanth off Sulawesi island claimed that it looked bluish, with glowing green eyes. The dark, green/blue coloration of this model agrees with what is known of the Sulawesian specimen, down to the spot pattern on the replicas.
A capture of an image from the Japanese research team videotape of a one-meter long coelacanth at a depth of 170 m, 17, at 8:30 am on May 30, 2006, off shore Buol, about 350 km west from Manado, Sulawesi Island, with a ROV operated by the Aquamarine Fukushima Survey team. This town is only a few miles (east) from where the Jago team saw two coelacanths in a cave near ToliToli.
Above: The first Indonesian coelacanth captured by locals, on behalf of scientists Mark and Arnaz Mehta Erdmann, who described the discovery in the September 24, 1998 issue of Nature. Photo courtesy of the Erdmanns.
The African coelacanth has the species name Latimeria chalunnae. The Indonesian species, which was at first allegedly said to be brown, has gold flecks on its sides, and was offically named Latimeria menadoensis by French scientists who described it before Mark Erdmann was able to officially. Several pages in Cryptozoology A to Z discuss the differences and significance between the two stories of these darlings of cryptozoology, but also note that Mark Erdmann has his doubts about the two different species. The Japanese video may have proven he is correct.
The color of the filmed Indonesian coelacanth is not brown: "The camera light caused the fish’s eyes to glow green. It was there. Its body was dark blue," the research team reported to museum director Yoshitaka Abe. That’s "dark blue" or “blue-black” (ao-guroi in Japanese). This finding, that there is one species worldwide with different colorations, as opposed to a different brown species in Indonesian waters, would be intriguing news, if verified further.
What we do know, in the world of replicas now too, Brent Swancer has discovered there is a very unique Indonesian coelacanth that has been made and perhaps is found in only one aquarium location in Japan! I thank him for obtaining this rare item for the cryptozoology museum.
If you were not confused enough, directly above is S. Bell’s photo of Kaiyodo Aquatales Deepsea coelacanth (obviously African?), which is very small. (I have one of those now on the mantle under the 5.5 ft long fiberglass replica of a coelacanth seen below, in the background.)
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