moray eels

Started by Harkus, Sep 05, 2007, 06:27:33 PM

Author
moray eels (Read 1,075 times)

Harkus

Harkus

this is from some news thing  ;D

PARIS (AFP) - Like the predator in the "Alien" movie series, moray eels thrust a second set of jaws from deep within their throat to seize their prey, astonished scientists reported Wednesday.

The animal kingdom is full of innovative mechanisms for ensuring that a meal does not escape and moves swiftly along the digestive track.

Snakes unhinge their jaws, and most fish -- along with some eels -- use suction to draw in their victims. Some species, such as the parrotfish, have a second set of teeth-like bones between their gills.

But scientists at the University of California at Davis were amazed to discover that at least one species of moray, an eel that lurks in reef crannies and reaches up to three metres (10 feet) in length, has a mobile inner jaw lined with razor-edged, hook-like teeth.

Situated in the pharynx, this "raptorial pharyngeal jaw" can thrust forward at lightning speed into the mouth, virtually eliminating any chance a prey might have had of squirming free from the first set of jaws.

The discovery was made based on a hunch, according to the study, published in the British journal Nature.

Noting in previous research that some eel species do not use suction during feeding, marine biologists Rita Metha and Peter Wainwright wondered whether the same was true of the moray eel.

To find out, they recorded high-speed videos of Muraena retifera, one of 200 or so moray species found in reefs around the world, feeding in a laboratory aquarium.

That's when then discovered the inner jaw, which is clearly visible in the film.

To get an inside view of the mechanism, the researchers did a X-ray fluoroscopic analysis -- the kind used to film the digestive process in the humans.

The resulting images gave the first detailed view of the eel's hidden dental apparatus in action.

Almost as remarkable as the lunging jaw is that fact that it went unnoticed for so long. This could be explained, the authors conjecture, by the fact that moray eels, while common, are rarely eaten by humans.

They are also do not turn up often in fish nets as they stay close the reef crevices where they live and feed.

In a comment, also published in Nature, Mark Westneat, a biologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, speculates that the eel's raptorial jaw "may be a primary reason for their success and diversity."

Westneat also cautions that it may be premature to generalise across all species of moray eel, though he thinks it is likely that Muraena retifera probably has like-jawed cousins.

Noir-Gojira

Noir-Gojira

#1
It's cool, but that knowledge is pretty old.  I don't see why it would be considered 'news'

Harkus

Harkus

#2
well apparently they just dicovered it on wednesday i think heres a link http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20070905/tsc-science-biology-fish-c2ff8aa_1.html

Noir-Gojira

Noir-Gojira

#3
Just because the reporting source only learned of it now doesn't make it news, though this is hardly the first time they bungled it.  Case in point, the flight method of Argentavis magnificens.  The report was published just this year and considered 'news', but most archaeologists involved have been aware of this theory for a decade at the very least.

Trust me, my friends and I have caught morays before and this topic was mentioned in our high school bio class three years ago.  Old info.

The Necronoir

The Necronoir

#4
The first thing I thought of when I saw the alien queen for the first time was 'moray eel', because of the crystaline teeth.

Referring to the predator in the 'Alien' series is potentially confusing...

ShadowPred

ShadowPred

#5
Yes it is, i was like this    :-\

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