, Volume 32, Issue 1-4, pp 371-390

An inventory of all known specimens of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, with comments on trends in the catches

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A list is presented of all known specimens of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae based on a survey of the literature and of museum, aquarium and university holdings. Details are given of the date, place, time and depth of capture, the name and age of the fisherman, the length, weight and sex of the fish, the first literature record, the method of preservation and the present location of specimens, if known. A new number is assigned to each specimen. At least 172 coelacanths are known to have been caught since 1938. The first coelacanth was caught off South Africa but all properly documented, subsequent specimens have been caught off the islands of Grand Comoro and Anjouan in the Comoros. An appeal is made to the Comoran authorities for each specimen that is caught to be made available for scientific study. Museum authorities are also encouraged to allow their specimens to be X-rayed or dissected so that vital information can be obtained on fecundity, foetal nutrition and dietary preferences. It is essential for the coelacanth conservation effort that this inventory is maintained by the Coelacanth Conservation Council.