Battlepanda: Two jaws are better than one?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Two jaws are better than one?

photo by Jeff Jeffords

Do click through. The video on the NPR website has to be seen to be believed.
Morning Edition, September 6, 2007 ยท Scientists in California have reported that Moray eels have a set of teeth within a second set of jaws, called the pharyngeal jaws, that help them capture their prey.

Once the Moray eel secures its prey with its first set of jaws, the pharyngeal jaws reach up from its throat, grabbing and pulling the prey down through its esophagus.
Other Moray eel-related fun facts:

  • In addition to their extra jaw, some species of Moray eels are poisonous.
  • "Publius Vedius (died 15 BC), was the son of a freedman from Beneventum. He amassed a large fortune, gaining equestrian status and serving Augustus in the province of Asia; he had a repuation for cruelty, punishing slaves by throwing them to his moray eels." -- Who's who in the Roman World by John Hazel
  • Despite all this, some Moray eels become very friendly and tame after being fed by divers. The eels "An An" and "Ping Ping" were star attractions at a popular diving site on Taiwan's Green Island, until media reports attracted the unwelcome attention of fishermen and the pair promptly "disappeared". Here's a video of divers swimming with a friendly Moray.

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