Submarine Captures A Rare Footage Of A ‘Shape-Shifting’ Gulper Eel

An extremely fascinating find at 1,425 meters (4,675 ft) under the ocean was captured by an unmanned submarine belonging to the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET). We all know there are weird things down there, but this thing, sheesh! What is it? It's a gulper eel! An operator notices something obscure but moving against the rocky ocean bottom. The camera pans left and down, attempting to frame it. Yes, there is something...zoom closer... “Oh, wow!” exclaims one. “Looks like a Muppet,” says another. “It's a fish, in the water column,” another points out. When the ROV camera zooms and centers the “thing”, all exclaim simultaneously, “Oh, my goodness! Look at that!” It is likely the crew have never seen such a thing in its present form. At first it looks like an overgrown polliwog that any school kid would collect from a shallow pool. But it couldn't be a polliwog nearly a mile below the surface, could it? Everything is black as night that far down, so the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has to turn on its headlights to see what's down there. The creature, not used to any light except for the dim scintillation of bio-luminescent creatures is understandably shaken. It contorts and blobs out, and for a while things get really weird. We might mistake the defensive posturing for some undersea belly dance. Its undulations resemble a lava lamp. It twists and turns, pulsating and expanding. The only part of it that doesn't change shape is the whip-like tail. It shimmies and shakes, just like Houdini trying to escape from chains. But it's not done yet! More surprises await, as the creature opens a gaping mouth that easily looks to be bigger than the rest of its body. It is then that one of the crew identifies it as a gulper eel (eurypharynx pelecanoides). Even then it hasn't finished. With a twisting motion the creature suddenly shrinks down to a skinny little eel. Ah, so you're not so big after all! If it were not for deep sea submersibles and the occasional fishing net, we might never know about the gulper eel. It can live anywhere from 500 feet to 6,000 feet (1.14 miles) below the surface, far below where humans can normally safely travel. It is sometimes referred to as the pelican eel because of the obvious similarities to its avian namesake, where the eel, like the pelican, deposits fish into its huge storage pouch. Because it has tiny teeth, the gulper eel is not believed to dine on anything really big. Probably small crustaceans and cephalopods (squids and octopi). Something else that's small about the gulper eel is its eyes, so tiny they probably don't see shapes just light. We mentioned bio-luminescence—the ability of creatures to produce their own light. The gulper eel also has that ability in its tail. We've collected and preserved dead specimens, but they aren't nearly as exciting to look at and study as this dramatic footage. 'EVNautilus/nautiluslive org gets credit for this video.