Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creature Feature: Black Swallower.

It's about time I got back into the swing of things. That means more cool creatures, hopefully with another 6-day week of entries at a faster pace. There is still more weird stuff out there, and I intend to cover a lot of it. In this case, a friend of mine was awesome enough to send me a real monstrosity:

The black fish above is a black swallower (Chiasmodon niger). These small (10 inch) fish are restricted to dark, tropical and subtropical waters.  They themselves are rather dark, being brown and scaleless like many non-glowing abyssal animals. They eat bony fish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, we are still talking about the tiny black fish - not the pearly blue fish it attempted to eat.

Oh, and yes, the thing did indeed swallow something larger than its entire body up there. It can swallow prey over twice its length and ten times its mass. The black swallower doesn't bother to chew them, either - just swallows them whole, presumably jaw-walking over them from the tail up just to fit it all in. Nobody has ever seen this taking place. This is almost like a human swallowing a whole cow without chewing, regardless. Have fun with that image.

To help with this insane capacity to swallow, the black swallower's stomach is so stretchy that it makes python skin look like plastic. Things are enclosed whole in the stomach lining, which can stretch so thin that it looks like a bubble waiting to be popped. As one can imagine, this doesn't work 100% of the time; many black swallowers have been found with their stomachs popped like fleshy bubbles.

It's a miracle that almost nobody has done anything in pop culture with this weird little fish. Its strange eating habits sound like the perfect setup for a monster. Combine it with certain other abyssal creatures and we might have a terror of the deep on par with Jaws. Better still, its young have been found near Bermuda. Hm...I sense a new B-horror flick coming on.

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