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However, resident South African coelacanths have been sighted in deep canyons, initially by divers using mixed gas "rebreathers," and subsequently by scientists using a submersible.
Elsewhere in the Western Indian Ocean specimens have been captured off the west coast of Madagascar and off Mozambique and Kenya, the latter representing the northernmost locality record along the African coast.
Experts largely agree that coelacanths are primitive osteichthyans or bony fishes (as opposed to a cartilaginous fishes, such as sharks and rays), and that their closest living relatives are the primitive lungfishes (known from freshwaters of South Africa, Australia and South America), but they disagree on the exact placement of the coelacanth in the evolutionary history of vertebrates.
The two specimens observed from a submersible in Indonesia were in a deep carbonate cave at about 500 feet.
The Indonesian form was described as a new species, Latimeria menadoensis, in April 1999, by L. The coelacanth's evolutionary relationships are a matter of controversy.
There are several competing hypotheses and many unresolved questions, in large part owing to the many unusual characters found in coelacanths.
Left: A close-up of the fleshy, limb-like pectoral fin of an adult coelacanth.
Right: A close-up of the snout of an Indonesian coelacanth. Smith in 1939 and was named after its discoverer, Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer.
All Latimeria are considered to be endangered and are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).