The marine environment hosts organisms with incredible shapes, sizes, and colors, yet we often don’t really know how those creatures obtained these interesting traits in the first place. On occasion researchers take these charismatic species from the wild into the lab to conduct studies that can elucidate some of the underlying causes of the incredible forms that sea creatures take. The Wainwright Lab at University of California, Davis has been doing just by using high-speed video to describe the link between form and function for fish jaw morphology. If you’ve never really thought about how a fish actually pulls prey into its mouth, it’s worth considering how miraculous this is in the first place.
One of the most impressive jaws morphologies out there is the slingjaw wrasse (Epibulus insidiator), a fish common to coral reefs across the South Pacific. These fish have got to have one of the most incredible mouths on the planet with a large protruding lower jaw that allows these fish to suck prey down from a distance.
Here is a video of the slingjaw wrasse
A lecture on slingjaw mouth form and function here.
here are a couple of incredible other videos of other fishes
Check out other cool videos of a diversity of fishes feeding in slow motion from the Wainwright lab here.