How Dragonfish Open Their Fearsome Mouths So Wide
Barbeled dragonfish — predatory fish with long, dark bodies that inhabit the deep sea — are unnerving to look at. Their name refers to glowing barbell-shaped lures that dangle from their oversize lower jaws and attract unsuspecting prey in the cold, dark ocean depths. Those jaws, studded with prominent, sharp teeth, can swing wide enough to gulp down large fish whole — even prey larger than the swallower.
And a new study has discovered one of the secrets to their exceptional gape — a specialized head joint that is unique to dragonfish. Read more
To visit his friend, Rick Anderson has to strap on an oxygen tank, put a regulator into his mouth and dive into the ocean off the coast of Nobbys Beach in New South Wales, Australia.
Anderson’s friend is a 6-foot female Port Jackson shark. She doesn’t have a name, but Anderson recognizes her by her markings.
And she always recognizes him, according to Anderson.
“I started playing with her about seven years ago when she was just a pup about 6 inches long,” Anderson told The Dodo. “I approached her carefully so as not to spook her, then began to gently pat her. Once she got used to me, I would cradle her in my hand and talk soothingly to her through my regulator.”