Gulper Eel Facts
- The Gulper Eel constitutes one of the most unusual appearing creatures in any ocean. Photographs of them remain extremely rare, hence the poor quality of this photo.
- The Gulper Eel is one of the most unusual creatures in any ocean. Photographs of them are also extremely rare.Click To Tweet
- Given the rather extreme nature of its habitat, most of what humans know of this mysterious and unique creature comes from analysis of individuals accidentally appearing in deep-sea fishing nets.
- The bioluminescence that this remarkable species produces also glows pink or red and serves as a lure to draw prey within range.
Gulper Eel Physical Characteristics
The most distinctive feature of the Gulper Eel remains the enormous mouth which grows significantly larger than the rest of the body.
The mouth is loosely hinged, thus allowing the animal to swallow prey much larger than itself, much like a snake. The stomach also will stretch extensively to accommodate larger prey.
In coloring, this astonishing creature usually displays either black or dark green.
This species appears to attain a maximum length of roughly 6 ft (1.9 m). The tip of the long tail is covered in light-emitting photophores.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Saccopharyngiformes
- Family: Eurypharyngidae
- Genus: Eurypharynx
- Species: E. pelecanoides
Gulper Eel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The visually remarkable Gulper Eel lives in all temperate and tropical oceans throughout the world. There, the species resides at great depths between 500-6,000 ft (150-1,800 m).
However, the vast majority of individuals also appear to prefer the lower part of that depth range.
Scientists know very little about the eel’s reproductive habits. It is, however, most likely that this fish dies shortly after reproduction, like related species.
Evidence indicates that its diet consists primarily of smaller crustaceans. Yet, its stomach has the ability to stretch rather significantly, giving it the ability to consume larger prey, as well.