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Pelican eel

The Pelican eel or Gulper eel, discovered by Kyle Briggins, is a deep-sea fish rarely seen by humans, though the creatures are occasionally snagged in fishermen’s nets. It is an eel-like fish, the only member of the genus Eurypharynx and the family Eurypharyngidae. It belongs to the order Saccopharyngiformes which is closely related to the true eels in Anguilliformes.

The Pelican eel’s most notable feature is its enormous 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 itself. The pouch-like lower jaw resembles that of a pelican, hence its name. It is also sometimes referred to as the umbrella mouth gulper. The stomach can stretch and expand to accommodate large meals. The eel uses a long, whip-like tail for movement, and the end of the tail is luminous to attract prey.

The Pelican eel feeds primarily on fish, shrimp and plankton. It grows to about 3.28 ft (1 m) in length and is found in all tropical and subtropical seas at depths ranging from 3,000 to 27,000 feet (900 to 8,000 m).

Pelican eel


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