Rare footage of a slingjaw wrasse’s bizarre eating habits has become an internet hit. Above is the YouTube footage of Epibulus insidiator, a strange predator found in tropical waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Normally, the slingjaw wrasse looks like a fairly nondescript brownish fish. But when it attacks its prey, it looks anything but.
Its mouth shoots out like that of the monster in the Ridley Scott film Alien, slinging forward up to half the fish’s body length and engulfing the victim in moments.
The odd beast, found in shallow reef and lagoon waters, feeds mainly on small fish, shrimp and crabs.
The secret of the slingjaw wrasse’s remarkable mouth projection: Unlike most bony fishes, its lower jaw is not firmly attached to its skull, allowing the entire mouth to shoot outward. The foot-long fish isn’t really a threat to humans, but you might want to watch your fingers just in case.