Top 10 Gulper Eel Characteristics that Have Helped It Survive


The Gulper Eel lives in deep sea and is known for its peculiar as well as amazing features. Since they live in deep sea there is not much information about gulper eel. They live in the marine depth range of 1500 – 3000 meters. The gulper eel has an elongated body and there is a glowing organ at the end of its tail. Gulper eel has tiny eyes as well as several rows of tiny teeth. The most outstanding characteristic of gulper eel is its large mouth and the unhinged jaw.

The gulper eels normally eat crustaceans, fish, cephalopods, seaweed and prawn. Because of its peculiar body shape gulper eel cannot swim like other fish varieties and it attracts its prey with the help of the glowing organ at the end of its tail. The wide jaws and elastic stomach of gulper eel enable it to swallow fishes that are larger in size. However, normally they eat only small fish varieties. Lancet fish is the predator of gulper eel. The upper eel is oceanic as well as bathypelagic. Gulper eel is one among the strangest looking fish varieties in deep sea. Though they appear like eels, gulper eels are not true eels. They live in the extreme depths of the sea and are either black or dark green in color.


Here are the main characteristics of the Gulper Eels that have enabled them to survive.

(1) Gulper Eels live in deep sea with depth range of 1500 – 3000 meters. Since they are so deep in the ocean they are unlikely to attract human attention and are hence very rarely caught by humans. Since gulper eels are not of much significance, they are not hunted by human beings. This fact enabled gulper eels to survive.

(2) The gulper eels have huge mouths and unhinged jaws. The stomach of gulper eel is elastic and can be expanded to any size so as to swallow bigger fishes. However, gulper eel is adapted to eat the small fish varieties that are available in deep sea such as crustaceans, fish, cephalopods, seaweed and prawn and hence they are unlikely to die because of food scarcity.

(3) Lancet fish is the only predator of gulper eel and hence this fish has not many enemies.

(4) Whenever there is shortage of crustaceans, prawn and seaweed in the deep sea, the gulper eels move up towards the surface in search of food and eat other varieties of food also. Hence they are unlikely to starve.

(5) The large mouth and the rows of tiny teeth function as fishing net enabling the gulper eel to catch large groups of small fishes at a time. Its stomach is also elastic and can accommodate large quantity of food. This characteristic also enables the gulper eel to avoid starvation.

(6) Since the gulper eels normally remain in deep sea they are unlikely to be affected by pollution, climatic changes, fishing and various other factors that affect the surface.

(7) Though food is scarce in deep sea, the large mouth of the gulper eel functions like a trawler and helps to catch large groups of small fishes very quickly.

(8) Though gulper eel lives in deep sea where there is no sunlight it can easily attract the prey towards it with the help of the photophore at the end of the tail which produces light by way of glowing.

(9) The lateral line of gulper eel which projects out from its body functions as a powerful sense organ detects vibrations around and thereby protects the fish from dangers.


(10) The life span of gulper eel is in the range 55 – 100 years and most of the gulper eels die only after copulating.

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