The Pharyngeal Jaws of the Moray Eel

Most fish eat by rapidly expanding their mouth and sucking in their prey. However, due to their narrow heads, moray eels are unable to generate enough negative pressure to capture fish.

Instead, morays use a second pair of jaws located in their throat, called the pharyngeal jaw, to grasp prey and transport it to their digestive systems. The pharyngeal jaw has hooked teeth and can be launched into the oral cavity.

While many species possess these second jaws, moray eels are the only animals that use them to actively capture and restrain prey.

See the Pharyngeal Jaws in Action via Youtube

Yellow Mouthed Moray (Gymnothorax nudivomer) depicted

Images: Hagainativ via Wikimedia Commons; Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

  1. doomascusrose reblogged this from vorpalplatypus
  2. didyouseethisthing reblogged this from didyouseethisthing
  3. mantisbones reblogged this from calmnivore
  4. flower-serenade reblogged this from raxilia5running
  5. glide-kun reblogged this from raxilia5running
  6. ershigalell reblogged this from raxilia5running
  7. raxilia5running reblogged this from shide-no-tori
  8. shide-no-tori reblogged this from ichthyologist
  9. keiyoshi reblogged this from moniquill
  10. deathfucker reblogged this from mrsdallogay
  11. severely-adicto reblogged this from until-the-ink-fades
  12. ornatewalrus reblogged this from moniquill
  13. until-the-ink-fades reblogged this from the-aspiring-apiarist
  14. updowncontinue reblogged this from moniquill
  15. the-aspiring-apiarist reblogged this from staryeyedanddisheveled
  16. staryeyedanddisheveled reblogged this from jhameia
  17. boston-bashed reblogged this from flaskgarg
  18. dalmatians-and-dragons reblogged this from flaskgarg
  19. flaskgarg reblogged this from blacksquares
  20. milksusu reblogged this from calmnivore
  21. ninjas-in-a-box reblogged this from tariqk
  22. meomnimi reblogged this from vorpalplatypus
  23. evangelic-shad0ww0lf reblogged this from tariqk
  24. tariqk reblogged this from jhameia
  25. zagadska reblogged this from vorpalplatypus
  26. vorpalplatypus reblogged this from transwomanofgod
  27. revenantirreverence reblogged this from moniquill