_Gulper eels have the ability to expand their mouths to freakish
proportions, and this showoff does not disappoint._
The gulper eel’s mouth can suddenly expand like a soap bubble to allow it toscoop up much larger prey, although the fish is thought to eat mainly smallcrustaceans. It’s theorized that, because of the fish’s tiny teeth, itsability to stretch to bizarre proportions is more of a back-up plan if foodgets scarce and large fish are all that is on offer.
After inflating itself, the gulper—also known as a pelican eel because itsscoop-like feeding method resembles the large water birds—abruptly deflatesits mouth and swims away. Very little is known about these creatures that liveup to 6,000 feet deep: why one might inflate and deflate itself like that, forinstance. But new observations of another gulper eel, this one in the Gulf ofMexico, have some researchers speculating that the behavior happens when thefish feels threatened.
This gulper eel was likely a juvenile, as this species can grow up to threefeet in length.
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