"African fish hunts on land
Last Updated Wed, 12 Apr 2006 16:51:28 EDT
Biologists have found an unusual fish that swims in the swamps of tropical Africa, but can catch prey on dry land.
The eel catfish catches insects and other prey on land by arching its body upwards out of the water and bringing its jaws down, trapping its prey against the ground.
In the water, the eel catfish, like other fish, captures its food by opening up its mouth and sucking up its prey. Since this trick won't work on land, it had to adapt with a different hunting strategy.
The catfish's neck is especially flexible, with specialized vertebrae that allow it to hold its head up out of the water without using fins.
A team headed by Sam Van Wassenbergh of the University of Antwerp in Belgium submitted a video of the eel catfish performing its feat in a lab setting for the Thursday issue of the journal Nature.
The researchers speculate that a similar feeding strategy could have been used by the first vertebrates to emerge from the oceans."
Another cool story about the wild lifeforms on our pretty little planet. One small splash for a catfish, one giant leap for dry land.