Crazy Fish Heads

Epibulus insidiator, the slingjaw wrass, “possesses the most extreme jaw protrusion ever measured in fishes.” Individuals can protrude their jaw up to half the body length to capture crabs, shrimps, and small fishes.   This occurs through multiple structural novelties, as the video above can attest to, involving fundamentally reorganizing the way the bones and ligaments interact in the jaw linkage (Westneat 1991).

At the American Museum of Natural History website, you can view and interact with fish skulls that illustrate how the bones move in this process.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

8 Replies to “Crazy Fish Heads”

  1. Awesome typo, Dr. M. I had to read it twice, thinking… “where would they get carbohydrates, and why would they need stealth to get them?!”

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