Also known as the false treasure eel, the treasured gapemaw preys upon creatures curious or greedy enough to enter its jaws. It lures in prey with shiny trinkets and treasures found on the ocean floor, suctioned tightly to its three lures. The eel buries itself in the sand, its unhingeable jaw allowing it to swallow prey several times its size while the array of poisoned barbs in its mouth ensure any struggles will be short.
The gapemaw has three lure-like appendages arrayed around its jaw. These appendages are tipped with suckers and can be extended or retracted at will. The eel appears long and slender when swimming. It also has the ability to unhinge its jaws in several places to allow the eel to swell up like a balloon or or flatten itself into a disk centering on its large, open mouth.
Ecology and Habitats
While typically found in the deep ocean some treasured gapemaws have developed a taste for land creatures, instead adapting their hunting techniques to ensnare creatures along the shoreline. They cannot survive outside of salt water for extended periods of time, although a gapemaw can survive low tide if buried in the sand.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Treasured gapemaw are patient carnivores, preying upon fish and other creatures attracted by the glint of found items the eel has attached to its lures. To hunt it will first dig its head into the ocean sediment to disturb the seabed. Unhinging its jaw, the eel lays flat at the center of this disturbance, positioning its adorned lures towards the center of its now giant mouth. The sediment will settle back onto the ocean floor and the gapemaw, hiding all but its gathered treasures from view. Here it will lie in wait until sensing the disturbance of a curious creature wandering too close, drawn by the sparkle of its trinkets. The gapemaw can swallow items many times its size due to its highly flexible jaw. Its skin is tough but flexible to withstand the struggles of the creatures it swallow, and the inside of its mouth is lined with sharp poisoned barbs to ensure the struggles are brief.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Those who survive an encounter with the false treasure fish may be able to salvage a real treasure from the remains. These fish collect shiny objects from the deep oceans on their lures, sometimes including gold or gems from forgotten shipwrecks.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Gapemaw are highly sensitive to vibrations and can sense the Imperium of others, allowing them to correctly time their attack once a tasty morsel has wandered into their trap.