Illustration for article titled Mudskippers Create Artificial Tongues Made of Water

We all know they can crawl like a dog without scraping their knees, but researchers have now learned mudskippers are able to attack prey on land by manipulating mouthfuls of water – then sucking that water back into their mouths like a vacuum.


The general idea is sort of like "hocking a loogie"– but then, at its apogee, sucking it back into your mouth like an especially viscous bungee cord. (Remember how you used to do that as a kid? Liar.)

The findings may answer a valuable question about the evolution of sea-to-land animals – namely, how they would eat without tongues.


These "hydrodynamic tongues", as they're called, allow mudskippers to feed on land with greater accuracy then they would underwater. As Krijn Michel puts it — the biologist who caught footage of the action on x-ray video — "They're very good at feeding on land. We put the food there and within a fraction of a second, it's gone. They're remarkably bad at feeding underwater. They miss the food completely sometimes."

So there you have it. "If you want to make it in this world, you gotta adapt."

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