Moray eels have a second, hidden set of jaws that are the stuff of nightmares. These extra jaws can snap forward in an instant to clamp into prey and drag the animal down into the eel’s gullet. Those terrifying slingshot jaws help a type of moray do something that’s impossible for most fish: swallow their prey while on land, according to a new study. It’s an unnerving sight, with researchers’ video showing prey being yanked down the eel’s throat as the moray’s mouth gapes open. Fish typically need moving water to carry food from their mouths into their bellies. But snowflake moray eels ( Echidna nebulosa ) can ambush crabs on land by wriggling from the sea to catch their prey during low tide, and researchers recently found that the recoil of the eels’ secondary jaws was strong enough to help morays swallow their meal without having to retreat back into the ocean. Related: Photos: The world’s freakiest-looking fish All bony fishes — those with skeletons made mostly of bone, rather than cartilage — have pharyngeal jaws in addition to their main jaws. Pharyngeal jaws lie behind the pharynx, or throat. They are smaller than the jaws in fishes’ mouths… Read full this story
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