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Sunday, August 30, 2009

ONCE AGAIN COELACANTH IS RED HERRING (Sorry to steal your headline concept Darren)


What an exciting week it has been! The latest story to shatter cryptozoological headlines is this one: that a coelacanth has been found in the Ganges, of all places. Loren has cast doubt upon the story over on cryptomundo but we decided to pass the story over to Max B, the CFZ king of all things piscatorial and tarkus-related.

Kudos must go to Loren Coleman for his correct diagnosis. The creature in these photographs is NOT a Coelacanth. It is a grouper but of what species, I am uncertain. The dead fish differs from a Coelacanth in the following ways:

1. Coelacanths have very obviously 2 completely separate dorsal fins. The dead fish does not have this feature.

2. Coelacanths have “Bony fins”, such that the true fin appears to come out of a little leggy stump. The dead fish has no suggestion of this at all, and its fins are typical of normal ray finned fish.

3. This fish is a Perciform fish. This large group of ray finned fish has a spiny dorsal fin, which is a very good diagnostic characteristic. The dead fish has this feature, Coelacanths don’t.

4. The caudal (tail) fin is so completely different in both fish that it is not worth much consideration.

5. Coelacanths are typified by having large scales. The dead fish clearly has very fine scales.

I could go on, but I won’t. If I knew much about groupers (I don’t) I would try and identify it to species. However, because of the large size of the fish I would say it has to be from either Mycteroperca or Epinephelus. More than that, I could not say with certainty but I would back Loren’s postulation that it is an orange spot, Epinephelus coioides.

Unfortunately, this intriguing headline is backed up by absolutely nothing; a shame.


Christian said...

Looks to be a Lates sp., such as a Nile Perch.

Jon Downes said...


Hey John

As I am unable to add a comment to the blog on the CFZ website on 'Coelacanth of the Ganges' I am having to ask you, my good friend, to do so for me:-

Having closely studied the photograph of the fish on this thread I believe the specie in question to be Lates calcarifer.

This brackish specie, which can grow very large, is commonly found in estuaries throughout the Indian sub-continent, Burma, Malaysia and Thailand..

The best known Lates is Lates niloticus, which is well-known as the fish that destroyed the fish fauna of Lake Victoria.

Regards to you all
David Marshall
Editor Aquarium Gazette CD magazine