7 Gulper Eel Facts
Real aliens currently only exist in the ocean. Like the Gulper eel. In fact, this eel is not a true eel. It is a fish that is the only known member of the genus Eurypharynx and the family Eurypharyngidae. The ocean never ceases to surprise us as it filled with mysteries and animals never seen before. Every dive into the deep brings out new discoveries. However, the sight and sounds of submarines, unfortunately, chases many creatures away. And despite the great floodlights the submarines carry, what the divers can see is limited. On top of all of this, deep-sea submarines are very expensive to build, maintain, and run, so expeditions are few and far between. The pitch-black waters of the deep that cover most of the earth will continue to keep many of its secrets untold for some time. Gladly, the Gulper Eel made it into the list of deep-sea discoveries. Very little is known about these creatures yet as they are difficult to locate. But here are 7 interesting facts about them:
1. The Gulper Eel is found at a depth of around 3000 to 26, 200 feet.
It has very small eyes that are believed to detect faint traces of light rather than form images.
2. They can swallow fish as big as themselves, and their stomach can stretch out to the size of the animal swallowed.
Their mouth is bigger than their body as a whole, and its pouch-like jaw resembles that of a pelican when it lunges for its meal.
3. It has a light-producing organ at the tip of its tail which it brings close to its mouth to attract prey.
The light-producing organ is known as a photophore.
4. They have no pelvic fins but their tails are really long and thin which helps them get to one place to another.
Gulper eels brought to the surface in deep-sea fishing nets have been known to have their really long tails tied up in multiple knots.
5. Occasionally these creatures shift to rivers as they find it difficult to look for food in their natural habitat.
Not only are their pelvic fins invisible, but they also don’t have swim bladders or scales. And while other fish muscles segments are “W-shaped”, the gulper eels have “V-shaped” muscle segments.
6. Their mouth is pitch black which matches the surrounding water making it easy for them to grab their prey without them realizing.
Their body is not able to chase prey, so they have methods such as luring in their prey by bringing the photophore next to their mouth which glows pink and red, and their black mouth which ghostly arrives into action.
7. Their diet consists of crustaceans, fish, seaweed, squids, octopus, and cephalopods.
Despite their gaping mouth, it is believed that their diet mainly consists of small crustaceans because they have tiny teeth. The wide mouth might be an adaption to swallow bigger prey when food is scarce.