Spiker Eel Taryn hibshman Period 7

Eelicus porcupinicus

The creature earned its name from its eel and porcupine-like characteristics. The creature has a eel-like body shape and spikes like those of a porcupine.

Ocean Zone and Habitat

The Spiker Eel lives in the photic zone, in a coral reef, where most ocean fish live and with the highest concentration of plants. The zone is where light is the strongest, to about 80 meters deep. The Spiker Eel lives within the neritic zone, where well oxygenated water and low water pressure are found. The first 200m of the ocean is the epipelagic zone, therefore the eel is also located in this area.

Physical Traits and Adaptations to the Environment/ Defense Strategies

When the Spiker Eel is young, it hides in the sand to protect itself from predators. As it matures, the Spiker Eel grows hundreds of spikes around its body to protect it from predators. Also, its flexible eel-like body allows it to move quickly and fluidly to catch prey. When nervous, the Spiker Eel lights up and scares away predators with flashing red and blue lights. It also has one excessively sensitive eye and long snout to detect movement within the reef to eat. Its thin 'legs' provide support to the eel when he is sleeping in case of sudden danger.

Locomotion

The Eel's thin and slick body allows it to swim quickly and fluidly through the water. Its thin legs also provide support in case of a threat. The Spiker Eel belongs to the Nekton group since he is an avid swimmer that must swim to find food and escape predation.

Respiration

The Spiker Eel has two sets of gills behind its legs. Its legs circulate water to the gills when the eel is moving, and then the gills filter out the oxygen and allow the eel to breathe.

Feeding

The Spiker Eel is a carnivore, eating fish, octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, crabs, and mollusks. It is hunted by larger animals like sharks and orcas. To eat, they hunt down their prey and stab them with them spikes. Then, they wrap their flexible body around the victim and suffocate it. After the prey is dead, the eel then bites it and digests it.

Reproduction

The female Spiker Eels lay down they eggs on the bottom of the seafloor. It is obvious when a male is ready to mate because he flashes his lights. When a female sees this, she immediately lays down her eggs and the male release sperm over them, fertilizing them. Once the babies hatch, the female eel stays with them for the first few weeks, teaching them how to bury themselves in the sand for protection until they are old enough to enter the reef.

Credits:

Created with images by tpsdave - "sea ocean water" • eutrophication&hypoxia - "Coral Reef, Florida" • NOAA Photo Library - "reef0606" • HockeyholicAZ - "Moray & Grouper = Buddies" • MartinStr - "air bubbles diving underwater" • slipszenko - "Eel: I'm going to eat you. (Again)"

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