tales from that jaw

i hosted my very first drawpile today, infinite thanks to @vandyburger who guided me through setting it up!!! it was so much fun thank you so much to everyone who stopped by!!!  here is what i worked on  💪 💪 💪


Super cool video of moray predation! This huge eel grabbed a white-tip shark that was passing by on the reef. 

What’s fascinating about this is watching all the effort that eel goes to in order to try to eat this shark. While eel are certainly capable of eating large prey, it’s a huge amount of work for one to go to and attacking a shark this size carries a pretty high degree of risk. Since eels have piscavore-type teeth, which point backwards to keep fish from swimming out, they aren’t able to cut up prey and eat them in chunks. Even a shark this large has to be swallowed whole, which is exactly what you see this eel trying to do.

I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that the corkscrew behavior you see halfway through the video is the eel attempting to use it’s abdominal/gut muscles to continue pushing the shark down it’s gullet. Normally, the jaw muscles move food into the digestive tract, but with such big prey my guess is that the eel is having a hard time swallowing and needed extra muscle help to get it down.

The shark pretty definitely did not survive this experience, even though it escaped from the eel. You can see how badly it’s swimming, and it looks pretty badly injured from the eel’s teeth. Considering that cartilaginous fish also die easily from shock due to extreme stress, the shark isn’t long for this world - but it probably at least had time to tell one cool tale about how it literally escaped from the jaws of death.