The Black Swallower shouldn’t be judged by its size: it can swallow fish over twice its size in a single bite.
The Black Swallower isn’t a mythical creature or an urban legend relic. The Black Swallower is a real deep sea fish that really has a way of eating.
The maximum known length of a Black Swallower, also known as Chiasmodon niger, is a mere 25cm. However, at meal time this fish is known for feeding on prey over twice its length and 10 times its own mass. And it doesn’t save leftovers for later. The Black Swallower is like the Boa Constrictor of fish, as it swallows its prey whole.
Standing (or rather swimming) at an average of 10cm in length, the Black swallower’s claim to fame: eating fish bigger than itself. Much bigger.
The black swallower feeds on bony fish, which are swallowed whole. With its greatly distensible stomach, it is capable of swallowing prey over twice its length and 10 times its mass. Its upper jaws are articulated with the skull at the front via the suspensorium, which allows the jaws to swing down and encompass objects larger than the swallower’s head.
Black swallowers have been found to have swallowed fish so large that they could not be digested before decomposition set in, and the resulting release of gases forced the swallower to the ocean surface. This is, in fact, how most known specimens came to be collected. In 2007, a black swallower measuring 19 cm (7.5 in) long was found dead off of Grand Cayman. Its stomach contained a snake mackerel (Gempylus serpens) 86 cm (34 in) long, or four and a half times its own length.
Take a moment to picture eating something twice your size in one bite. Makes you feel better about the last time you binge ate.