“Hey, Big Mouth!” Not you, sorry. I was talking to the Pelican Eel displayed above. Yeah, that dude has got one serious set of jaws. Probably likes jawbreakers… I don’t know. Read on:
The pelican eel’s most notable feature is its large mouth, which is much larger than its body. The mouth is loosely hinged, and can be opened wide enough to swallow a fish much larger than the eel itself. The pouch-like lower jaw resembles that of a pelican, hence its name. The lower jaw is hinged at the base of the head, with no body mass behind it, making the head look disproportionately large. When it feeds on prey, water that is ingested is expelled via the gills.
Pelican eels are black or olive and some subspecies may have a thin lateral white stripe. They are ray-finned fish, and only resemble eels in appearance.
The pelican eel is very different in appearance from true eels. It lacks pelvic fins, swim bladders, and scales. Its muscle segments have a “V-shape”, while other fish have “W-shaped” muscle segments. Unlike many other deep sea creatures, it has very small eyes. It is believed that the eyes evolved to detect faint traces of light rather than form images. The pelican eel also has a very long, whip-like tail. Specimens that have been brought to the surface in fishing nets have been known to have their long tails tied into several knots.
Read more on Wikipedia here!
The pelican eel uses a whip-like tail for movement. The end of the tail bears a complex organ with numerous tentacles, which glows pink and gives off occasional bright-red flashes. This is presumably a lure to attract prey, although its presence at the far end of the body from the mouth suggests the eel may have to adopt an unusual posture to use it effectively. Pelican eels are also unusual that the ampullae of the lateral linesystem projects from the body, rather than being contained in a narrow groove; this may increase its sensitivity.
The pelican eel grows to about 0.75 m (2.5 ft) in length.