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 (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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8 comments on “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?!”

  2. Pingback: The craziest fish jaws ever (video) [A Blog Around The Clock] »!

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