Friday 25 March 2011

Black Swallower

Image source
Do you remember the Snake Mackerel? They were predatory fish that prey on, amongst other things, fish. So how did a great, big, 86 cm (34 in) long specimen get eaten by a little, 19 cm (7.4 in) long fish!? It was 4 times its size! It even looks a little embarrassed.

I suppose part of the answer is that the smaller monster didn't quite manage to actually eat the bigger one. I mean, it certainly had a go; it managed to swallow it and get it into a stomach that has stretched so much it's gone transparent, but the digestion process doesn't seem to have gone too well.

You might have an inkling as to why this creature is called a Black Swallower. In this case it has swallowed something so big that it started to decompose right there in the Swallower's guts, releasing gases that meant they both began to float to the surface.

It must have been quite a journey; Black Swallowers inhabit depths between 700 and 2,745 metres (2,300-9,000 ft) in tropical and subtropical oceans around the world. The biggest found was 25 cm (10 in) long. They eat other fish, or try to, and can clearly swallow rivals bigger and heavier than themselves. It's thought that they grab prey by the tail and inch forward, their stomach growing increasingly grotesque as it fills. Next time you put your socks on, imagine it's a gruesome fish slowly eating you feet first and you'll get the idea.

I wonder if it could make for a good motivational poster for dieters?


TexWisGirl said...

Certainly made me a bit less hungry from my breakfast! :)

Joseph JG said...

And I'm far too gentlemanly to speculate as to whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe I should have put some sort of warning?

"CAUTION: The following image may sicken! Please do not consume solids for 12 hours before viewing."

Copas said...

For some strange reason, I found this fascinating. I examined the picture for what was probably a gruesomely long time.

Joseph JG said...

Ha! I don't at all blame you. We all seem to be peculiarly interested in things we find utterly grotesque. Either that or we just run away. It depends on the situation, I suppose.

Simsmac said...

"I wonder if it could make for a good motivational poster for dieters?"


Crunchy said...

Ugh. It's amazing this thing hasn't managed to drive itself extinct doing things like that. Maybe those particularly ambitious prey items are relatively rare?

Joseph JG said...

@N: Oh noes! I'm afraid that link doesn't worl for me at all! I get an "Oops! This link appears to be broken." Is there another way to reach it?

@Crunchy: Yes, I think they are quite rare. I'm sure a Snake Mackerel is much more often the eater rather than the eaten, or at least strong enough to escape or something. I guess when you live in darkness, this is the kind of accident that can happen.

Simsmac said...

Let's try this again:

Joseph JG said...

Hahahaa! Oh man! I've decided that any motivational quality this image has is purely due to putting you off your food and making you sick. That probably makes it one of the most successful diet plans in the world!