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Gulper Eel

The Gulper Eel is the only species in the family Eurypharyngidae. The gulper eel is perhaps one of the most bizarre looking creatures in the deep ocean. Its most notable attribute is the large mouth. The eel's mouth is loosely hinged, and can be opened wide enough to swallow an animal much larger than itself. The hapless fish is then deposited into a pouch-like lower jaw, which resembles that of a pelican. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as the pelican eel. The gulper's stomach can also stretch to accommodate its large meals. This giant mouth gives the eel its other common name of umbrella mouth gulper. The eel also has a very long, whip-like tail. Gulper eel has long tails tied into several knots. The gulper eel grows to a length of about two to six feet and is found in all of the world's oceans at depths ranging from 3000 to 6000 feet.

The Gulper Eel has an elongate body with a luminous organ at the end of the tail. The eyes are tiny and close to the snout. There are several rows of small teeth in the massive jaws. This species is black, sometimes with a white line or groove on either side of the dorsal fin. The Gulper Eel grows to 80cm in length.

Its major food items are crustaceans, but it also feeds on fishes, cephalopods and other invertebrates. It is believed to ingest its prey along with a quantity of water that is expelled through the gill openings. At maturity males undergo changes that include an enlargement of the olfactory organs and degeneration of the teeth and jaws. Females remain relatively unchanged.