This animal papercraft is designed by Yamaha papercraft. Coelacanths are members of an order of fish that includes the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii. Coelacanths belong to the subclass Actinistia, a group of lobed-finned fish that are related to lungfish and certain extinct Devonian fish such as osteolepiforms, porolepiforms, rhizodonts, and Panderichthys. Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct in the Late Cretaceous, but were rediscovered in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. Latimeria chalumnae and the Latimeria menadoensis are the only two living coelacanth species, which are found along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean. The coelacanth has been nicknamed a “living fossil”, because it originally was known only through fossils, long before the first discovery of a live specimen. The coelacanth is thought to have evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago.
Latimeria chalumnae and L. menadoensis are the only two known living coelacanth species. The word coelacanth literally means, “hollow spine,” because of its unique hollow spine fins. Coelacanths are large, plump, lobe-finned fish that grow up to 1.8 meters. They are nocturnal piscivorous drift-hunters. The body is covered in cosmoid scales that act as armor. Coelacanths have 8 fins – 2 dorsal fins, 2 pectoral fins, 2 pelvic fins, 1 anal fin, and 1 caudal fin. The tail is very nearly equally proportioned and is split by a terminal tuft of fin rays that make up the caudal lobe of the tail. The eyes of the coelacanth are very large, while the mouth is very small. The eye is acclimatized to seeing in dark light by having rods that absorb mostly low wavelengths. The vision of Coelacanths has evolved to a mainly blue-shifted color capacity. Pseudomaxillary folds surround the mouth, which replace the maxilla, a structure that is absent in coelacanths. There are two nostrils along with four other external openings that appear between the premaxilla and lateral rostral bones. The nasal sacs resemble those of many other fish and do not contain an internal nostril. The rostral organ of the coelacanth is contained within the ethmoid region of the braincase. It has three unguarded openings into the environment. The rostral organ is used as a part of the coelacanths’ laterosensory system. The coelacanths’ auditory reception is mediated by its inner ear. The inner ear of the coelacanth is very similar to that of tetrapods because it is classified as being a basilar papilla.
Locomotion of the coelacanths is unique to their kind. To move around, coelacanths most commonly take advantage of up or downwellings of the current and drift. They use their paired fins to stabilize their movement through the water. While on the ocean floor their paired fins are not used for any kind of movement. Coelacanths can create thrust for quick starts by using their caudal fins. Due to the high number of fins, the coelacanth has high maneuverability. Coelacanths also can orient their bodies in any direction in the water. They have been seen doing headstands and swimming belly up. It is thought that their rostral organ helps give the coelacanth electroperception, which aides in their movement around obstacles.
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