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Sunday, 6 April 2014

How a moray eel eats

Very interesting fact about morays if you're not overly familiar with them. They have a secondary set of grasping jaws called the Pharyngeal jaw. This evolutionary adaptation is surprisingly common among fish with more than 30,000 known species employing a set. However, none are as mobile (or frightening) as the Moray's.

Since these eels can't suck in and gulp down their prey as other predatory fish do, they instead evolved this swing-out set of small, grabbing mandibles. The eel first captures its prey with its primary jaws, then swings out its secondary set to grab the fish and pull it down the eel's throat while the first set of jaws chomp down on the next length of flesh.

Check out the great video below as well. Superb. Thanks to UC Davis for this!