UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Grammar Cleanup and Organization Needed.
Like the gars, freshwater coelacanths suffered severely during the Oligocene chaos.Also like the Spec gars, they didn't survive in north america, and it is believed that this may have allowed for the evolution of glaives and the modern muuskinbek hybodonts.Both are now widespread across north america, with the muuskinbeks having penetrated south america during the pliocene, where the recently decimated south american mawsoniids quickly lost out.North american ceolacanths are quite rare, only newly emigrated rusulkas are present and they are largely limited to montane forms in the west.Coelacanths in the old world are quite prominent, with more than 20 species currently described throughout africa and eurasia.Two species are known from madagascar and one from australia.
Coelacanths such as the rusulka also often move overland during the warmer months,seeking out deep vernal pools to mate and lay their eggs.This ability to shelter their young away from most rapacious aquatic egg predators is a vital protective measurement.The eggs are the size of wild grapes and never more than 20 to 30 in number.The rusulka mothers often will guard the eggs until hatching to prevent other egg-laden females from cannibalizing them to increase opportunities for their own young.Latimerids lay between 5 to 30 grapefruit size eggs and abandon them.Marine mawsoniids will guard their eggs in littered rocks until they hatch.
HE latimerids need little description, they are the famous "dinofish" discovered by Marjorie Courtney-Latimer in 1938.Since then, several specimens have been found throughout the deeper areas of the tropical Indian around seamounts.It was assumed that Spec would have similar descendants of the Macropoma clade group.Searches were conducted in the same general area.They were rich and yielding, with many new species of deep-water continental lifeforms found.No latimerids were recovered, but mawsoniids of several species turned up, with some imitating the Latimeria of HE in lifestyle.Searches elsewhere, north america for example, where the huge LK Megacoelacanthus had been recovered from the new jersey shore deposits also proved equally futile, not even turning up any of the other clades. This disappointingly seemed to indicate that latimeridae was an extinct clade in Spec.
Then a routine sampling net brought up Spec's first dinofish, many were secretly overjoyed,but a bit puzzled by the location.The newly described (Euparalatimeria trinidadensis) had been hauled up from the vicinity of the lesser Antilles. Soon two other species would be described from the tropics, one from the Caribbean (P. jamaica) and even a pacific relative (Bajacoelacanthus peru).
All three species live very much like HE Latimeria. It's believed that this allowed them to subsequently survive in the face of mawsoniids, a shallow water loving clade in south america.This group was decimated by the Pliocene bolide event.The invading muuskinbek hybodonts finished off the mawsoniids, but never crossed paths with the depth living latimerids.
They are a small tropical group of 9 species of fresh and brackish water dwelling clade of coelacanths, generally being long bodied 35-80 cm fishes with large and showy fins, used in mating and fighting displays,like gobies, triglas, rockfish and toadfish, with small eyes,a fine sense of smelling and wide mouths with many tiny teeth, adapted for sift small invertebrates of the mud, and engulf larger ones, such worms and decapods, normally crawls over the bottom of ponds and marshs in a salamander style, with impair fins folded and using the paired limbs as sole means of propulsion,swimming fastly only when are threatened for a predator or pursuing a prey, on the night they(mainly youngsters) walks on land from the larger waterbodies to nearby pools and also puddles, devouring any tadpoles and insect larvae they finds in that places, (usually only eats earthworms and other softbodied critters on land), returning to safer waterbodies before sun rises.
Apparently was survivors of a succesful post-oligocene radiation,when the lungfishes suffered many losses and their niche was open; actually 2 species lives on the neotropics, 4 in Indochina and 3 on Africa,all they have good tolerance to saltwater, their mating season is in the begginings of the rainy season, with the male producing a mucous spermatophore and seducing the female to take it, also in a salamander fashion, then female give birth 800 or more living fry, with swims far away.
Their niche is actually something intermediate between the large Dormitator gobies and the Lepidosiren HE lungfishes. They usually have bottle-green, brown and grey backgrounds, but when reach adulthood, appears vivid markings of fiery red or yellow on body and fins, very marked in males, as the example pic.(Elocanthus eleotroides in courtship mood).
MAWSONIIDAE (Rusulkas or Assassins-of-the-Shallows, Jagatorfish, Cat-mouths, Matilda's Reaper, etc.)
This is the most widespread clade, with representative members found on every continent except antarctica and south america.The 25 (and counting) species are varied, with a size range between 30 cm to 4 m in length.The lifestyle is a rather generalized apex predator of rivers and estuaries for the larger species.The much more common rusulkas are adapted to the shallows, often burying themselves in detritus such as mud or leaf litter with less than a few centimeters of water overhead.The deeper weed beds are home to the catmouths, so named because of their excruciatingly painful bites akin to a circle of cat claws bearing down on the engulfed flesh, or so it seemed to the unlucky spexplorer who first experienced this.
This is a fairly distinct taxon that was formerly labeled as a possible freshwater latimerid before certain skull morphologies, as well as genetic comparisions firmly landed it into the mawsoniids.
Madagascaran Isolate (Pisciruncogasyia nigradorsum)
Still, this madagascaran isolate (Pisciruncogasyia nigradorsum) has been separated from other coelacanths from well over 80 million years.Somewhat diadromous, it tolerates sea water for short durations and has managed to keep itself stocked in all the rivers of the island.It hunts in lazy backwaters in fairly deep waters.This 1.2 meter long coelacanth takes any prey it can gulp or tear apart easily.Darting into schools above, it does thin out the fish.Turtles and lissamphibians as well as water loving birds and mammals are occasionally taken.The blackish upper surface contrasts with the white underbelly, giving it the nickname of "little white" among the local spexplorer communities.6 to 14 baseball sized eggs are laid under hidden river overhangs and promptly abandoned.The pups hatch very quickly and spend their first five years sheltered in bottom weeds near shore, where they occasionally clamber up to escape gars.
NOTOFALCIFERIANAE (Matilda's Reaper)
Matilda's Reaper (Matildia messorius)
A large gar like mawsoniid found in Papuan new guinea and northern Australia. They reach 2 meters in length and will eat anything that crosses their path.
This is the most widespread and successful of the coelacanth clades. 15 or more species range from less than half a meter to 5 times that size.The earliest fossil fragments are Eocene in age, but the clade doesn't become common until the Miocene. They are shallow water ambushers .Burying themselves in mud with as little as six inches of water overhead, they will snap up anything moving overhead that will fit into their jaws.Found across the holarctic from the Mediterranean basin throughout almost all of Eurasia into the mountains of western north america, with one species in the Appalachians. They are adept overland walkers, even readily ascending montane streams along the riverbanks.This not only has allowed them to extend their range, it gives them survival options when the local water becomes unsuitable for whatever reasons.The females also travel overland during the spring,. seeking out vernal pools to lay their eggs.The quickly hatched young will remain in the pools for most of the spring and summer.They snap up unwary insects and even travel away for duration's during the nighttime hours to eat invertebrates on land.Late summer has the rulsulka pups bigger and ornerier, they flee the drying pools, not just out of fear of potential land predators, but of each other.
These are the pikes and cold water gars of the old world.The size range varies from 1 to 4 meters.Using their sharp fangs and powerful skulls, they crush any prey small enough to fit into their mouths.Like alligators, catmouths can crack turtle shells.These coelacanths haunt deep channels and shallow weedbeds. Swampy backwaters are also favored.Like rusulkas, they can travel overland, though they are much more limited in endurance.5 to 10 tennis ball to grapefruit sized eggs are laid in logs or rock gravel.The mother guards the eggs by remaining in the general area until the young hatch and scatter into drowned brambles.