Gulper Eel Facts
- Perhaps most notably of all, the Gulper Eel currently remains one of the most unusual appearing creatures in any ocean. Quite understandably, photographs of the creature also remain extremely rare, hence the poor quality of this photo.
- Given the highly extreme nature of its habitat, most of what humans know of this mysterious and unique creature comes from a regrettable source. That’s the analysis of individuals accidentally trapped in the ever-present deep-sea fishing nets.
- Amazingly, the bioluminescence that this remarkable species produces also glows an amazing brilliant pink or red. This uniquely evolved process serves the purpose of attracting its prey directly to it, thus generally eliminating the need to hunt.
- Most fortunately, unlike many other species around the world, the Gulper Eel appears to have a stable population. Therefore, the IUCN currently list the incredible fish as a Species of Least Concern, on its Red List of Threatened Species.
Gulper Eel Physical Description
First of all, the most distinctive feature of the incredible animal known as the Gulper Eel remains the quite obvious one. That, of course, would be the enormous mouth, which actually grows to a significantly larger size than the rest of the body.
This species appears to attain a length of roughly 6 ft (1.9 m). The tip of the long tail also develops a covering of light-emitting photophores. In coloring, this creature usually displays either black or dark green. Plus, it shows no noticeable degree of sexual dimorphism.
Additionally, the mouth develops loosely hinged. This, therefore, allows the animal to swallow prey much larger than itself, much like a snake. The stomach also stretches extensively to accommodate larger prey. Truly, the Gulper Eel is a remarkable creature.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Saccopharyngiformes
- Family: Eurypharyngidae
- Genus: Eurypharynx
- Species: E. pelecanoides
Gulper Eel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Lastly, the visually remarkable Gulper Eel lives in all temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world. But there, the species resides at a great range of depths. These run between 1,600 – 9,800 ft (500 – 3,000 m).
However, the vast majority of individuals also appear to prefer the lower part of that depth range. The exact reason for this tendency reasons undetermined at this time. But, the likely reason is the increased efficiency of its feeding techniques in darker waters.
Not surprisingly, scientists also know very little about the eel’s reproductive habits. However, it appears most likely that this fish dies shortly after reproduction. This would be similar to related species.
Further evidence indicates that the diet of the fascinating Gulper Eel consists primarily of smaller crustaceans. Yet, its stomach has the astounding ability to stretch quite significantly, giving it the ability to consume larger prey, as well.