In the deep blue sea, there’s always a bigger fish – and that's something this white-tip reef shark learned the hard way. They might be fearsome predators, but sharks are not always at the top of the food web.

This moray eel vs shark brawl resurfaced on social media recently, but the clip was actually captured by YouTuber back in 2014.  

Giant moray eels are ambush hunters that can reach a whopping ten feet (about 3m) in length and weigh as much as 66 pounds (30kg). They'll feed on just about anything that swims past their lairs, from fish and cephalopods to molluscs and crustaceans.

And when it comes to ensnaring prey, the moray eel is better equipped than most – thanks to an alien-like second set of jaws called pharyngeal jaws. Located in the back of the throat, they work in tandem with the eel's primary set of chompers. Once slippery prey has been seized, the pharyngeal jaws take hold to pull the food down into the digestive tract. 

Of course, if you watched this entire battle unfold, you'll know there's a twist: just when it all looks to be over, the sea serpent suddenly spits out the shark. Whether the moray circled back for a second round remains a mystery, but the motto beneath the waves is "waste not, want not". And with two sets of jaws to scarf down food, the eel could certainly have managed the feat. 

Because the battle plays out during the day – and moray eels are nocturnal – we suspect it's the reef shark who actually initiated the duel, and simply lost the upper hand. But we've seen the odds swing in the opposite direction too: 


Top header image: Shay Haas, Flickr