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New Observations on the Visceral Anatomy of the Lateterm Fetuses of the Living Coelacanth Fish and the Oophagy Controversy

P. C. Heemstra and P. H. Greenwood
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 249, No. 1324 (Jul. 22, 1992), pp. 49-55
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/49785
Page Count: 7
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New Observations on the Visceral Anatomy of the Lateterm Fetuses of the Living Coelacanth Fish and the Oophagy Controversy
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Abstract

A gravid coelacanth fish (Latimeria chalumnae Smith, 1939) containing 26 near-term young, 31-36 cm total length, was caught off the coast of Mozambique in August 1991. Observations on the visceral anatomy of two of the near-term pups from this female demonstrated a well-developed internal yolksac that opens into the anterior end of the intestine. Recent dissection of a pup from the litter of five pups discovered in 1975 revealed a vitelline duct connecting the external yolksac with the intestine. This new information rebuts recent speculation of intra-uterine oophagy in Latimeria, and calls into question earlier reports on the anatomy of the previously known fetuses.

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