Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel
The Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel, known scientifically as Eurypharynx pelecanoides, is one of the most bizarre looking creatures in the deep sea. Its most notable attribute is the large mouth. This enormous mouth is much larger than the eel’s body. The mouth is loosely hinged, and can be opened wide enough to swallow an animal much larger than itself. The hapless fish is then deposited into a pouch-like lower jaw, which resembles that of a pelican. In fact, this Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eelissometimes referred to as the pelican eel. The gulper’s stomach can also stretch to accommodate its large meals. This giant mouth gives the eel its other common name of umbrella mouth gulper.
Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel Description
In spite of its gigantic mouth, it is believed that the Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel’s diet consists mainly of small crustaceans. Since the eel has very tiny teeth, it probably does not eat large fish on a regular basis. The large mouth may be an adaptation to allow the eel to eat a wider variety of prey when food is scarce. It can also be used like a large net. The eel can swim into a large groups of shrimp or other crustaceans with its mouth wide open, scooping them up as it goes. The gulper eel is also known to feed on cephalopods (squid) and other small invertebrates. When the eel gulps its prey into its massive jaws, it also takes in a large amount of water, which is then slowly expelled through its gill slits. Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel themselves are preyed upon by lancet fish and other deep sea predators.