Chemistry of the body fluids of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae

  title={Chemistry of the body fluids of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae},
  author={Robert W. Griffith},
  journal={Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences},
  pages={329 - 347}
  • R. W. Griffith
  • Published 17 July 1980
  • Biology
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences
The coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, possesses a blood chemistry that is nearly identical to that of the elasmobranch fishes and contrasts with that of the bony fishes and tetrapods. Especially notable is the retention of high concentrations of urea (377 mM) and of trimethylamine oxide (122 mM), which aid in raising the blood osmolarity (942 mosm/I) to close to that of the sea water environment. These features also characterize other coelacanth body fluids, such as the notochordal fluid… 

Tables from this paper

Guppies, toadfish, lungfish, coelacanths and frogs: a scenario for the evolution of urea retention in fishes

  • R. W. Griffith
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Environmental Biology of Fishes
  • 2004
A scenario is proposed that suggests how ureosmotic regulation could have evolved in Latimeria and other fishes, a classic marine ureOSmotic regulator in which urea is used as an osmolyte that allows osmotic equilibrium with sea water while maintaining low ion levels.

The biology of Latimeria chalumnae and evolution of coelacanths

The coelacanth's reproductive style: lecithotrophy and orally feeding embryos in cichlid fishes and in Latimeria chalumnae is Probable and Viviparity and the maternal-embryonic relationship in the coelacanths are probable.

Ultrastructural Study of the Kidney in the Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae (Rhipidistia: Coelacanthini)

The ultrastructure of the L chalumnae nephrons correlates well with their osmoregulatory function and resembles that of freshwater rainbow trout.

Identification of a new mineralized tissue in the notochord of reared Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii)

The putative role of this structure is discussed as either a store of minerals available for the phosphocalcic metabolism, or a mechanical support in a species with a poorly mineralized axial skeleton, as well as a pathological feature putatively related to rearing conditions.


Stress and morbidity raise osmolarity and chloride in marine teleosts and may account for high values in midwater and benthic fishes, which were sampled after consi...

Paleozoic lungfishes—a review

It is shown that many features taken to be diagnostic of the Dipnoi by some workers were not present in its early members; failure to recognize this fact has led to erroneous hypotheses about dipnoan‐amphibian relations.

Non-respiratory blood vessels in Latimeria gill filaments

Evidence derived from this study of the secondary circulation clearly supports the view that the Dipnoi rather than Latimeria represent the living fishes most closely related to the tetrapods.

Latimeria chalumnae and its pedigree

  • P. Forey
  • Biology
    Environmental Biology of Fishes
  • 2004
It is concluded that throughout coelacanth history there have been changes in the structure of the vertebral column involving an overall increase in the number of vertebral elements, and a consequent crowding of these elements within the abdominal region.

Review Lecture: Some advances in coelacanth biology

  • N. A. Locket
  • History
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences
  • 1980
Participants in the British-French-American Expedition to the Comoro Islands in1972 were able to observe a living coelacanth and to obtain fresh tissue from two specimens, which were processed in the

Bibliography of the living coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae , with comments on publication trends

The literature on the living coelacanth is predominantly in English, French, Japanese and German but references in 12 other languages were also traced.



Composition of fluid from the notochordal canal of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae.

Significantly or suggestively lower levels of sodium, magnesium, calcium, bicarbonate, sulfate, total carbohydrates, glucose, lactate, cholesterol, bound phosphate and total proteins were found in notochordal fluid than in serum, whereas potassium, chloride, urea, trimethylamine oxide, and total free amino acids were higher and inorganic phosphorus essentially identical.


Samples of blood, bile, muscle and liver from a frozen specimen of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae were analyzed for ions and nonprotein nitrogenous compounds and the effect of prolonged freezing on the electrolyte distribution of the perch Perca fluviatillis was made.

Osmotic constitutents of the blood plasma and parietal muscle of Squalus acanthias L.

An attempt is made to outline the sea water-plasma and plasma muscle steady states by comprehensive analyses of muscle and plasma of specimens of the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias.

Serum Osmolality in the Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae: Urea Retention and Ion Regulation

Samples of blood (hemolyzed) were obtained from the renal vein, the hepatic portal vein, and the heart of a freshly thawed specimen of Latimeria chalumnae and the magnesium value for the aqueous humor was used to correct the abnormally high concentrations in the hemolyzed serum.

Serum composition of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae Smith.

Blood serum of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, lacks a protein component with a mobility approaching that of human serum albumin, and evolutionary implications of the similarity ofLatimeria serum chemistry to that of other marine fishes are discussed.

Composition of bladder urine of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae

Major inorganic electrolytes and organic solutes were measured in urine obtained from the bladder of a live specimen of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, and the results were compared with data on

Muscle Proteins of the Coelacanth Latimeria Chalumnae Smith

A comparison of the sarcoplasmic proteins of red and white muscle by starch-gel electrophoresis revealed that the differentiation observed in the coelacanth was similar to that occurring in the carp, and a study of the low-molecular-weight proteins of white muscle and of the myofibrillar proteins shows the expected differences between the two muscle types.

Bile salts of the lungfishes Lepidosiren, Neoceratodus and Protopterus and those of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae Smith.

Comparison of the alcohols suggest that Latimeria stands biochemically outside the animal group which includes the Dipnoi, and all four primitive osteiychtheans have some amphibian affinities.


It is a peculiar and interesting fact that marine teleosts excrete urine which is isotonic or hypotonic with respect to the blood, and therefore of considerably lower osmotic pressure than sea water