|Pacific hagfish resting on bottom
280 m depth off Oregon coast
Hagfish are craniata in the class Agnatha or Myxini, also known as Hyperotreti. Even though fish are supposed to have backbones, hagfish do not. Because of this, many researchers think Myxini should not be in the subphylum Vertebrata. Their skeleton is made up of its skull, which is made out of cartilage. However, because of its fins and gills, they are called fish.
Feeding[change | edit source]
Hagfish have "teeth" on their tongue to bite pieces of flesh from its prey, so they use their tongue teeth to eat. Hagfish are scavengers. Its teeth pinch together to lock onto its food, helping it tear into the flesh of dead and dying fish which have sunk to the bottom of the sea, where it lives. Often, a hagfish digs into the dead fish that it is eating, removing the insides of the dead fish.
Usually, hagfish are only seen by men when nets that sweep the sea floor are pulled up. Every fish, even the dead ones at the bottom of the sea, are brought up into the boat by the net. In some of those dead fish, hagfish are found eating. The smelly fish are dumped onto the deck of ships with the hagfish poking out from their bodies. When the hagfish becomes frightened at being taken off from the fish, they vomit up lots of slime. They vomit up enough slime to completely fill a two-gallon bucket. The reason such a small fish can make more slime than it seems its small body can hold is because the slime comes out in strings that quickly swell up much bigger than they were at first when they are released from the hagfish's body.> Their unusual way of eating and sliminess has made many people call the hagfish the most "disgusting" of all sea creatures. Although hagfish are sometimes called "slime eels," they are not eels at all.
Description[change | edit source]
Hagfish are usually about half a meter (18 in) long. They have long, eel-like bodies. Hagfish's eyes are small and not very useful, because the hagfish uses mostly its senses of smell and touch to find food. They have four hearts, two brains, and no backbone.
Hagfish dish[change | edit source]
References[change | edit source]
- Neil A. Campbell and J. B. Reece 2005. Biology 7th ed, Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco CA.
- "Friends of Oceanography Public Lecture Series - Explores the strange, wondrous, and disgusting hagfish". University of Rhode Island. 2002-03-25. http://www.uri.edu/news/releases/html/02-0325-01.html. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "Slimy, disgusting and useful". Norwegian University of Science and Technology. http://www.ntnu.no/gemini/2003-06e/26-27.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- Frank, Tammy (2004-08-09). "Disgusting hagfish and magnificent sharks". NOAA Ocean Explorer. http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/04deepscope/logs/aug9/aug9.html. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- Sea and Sky: Atlantic Hagfish
- Aird WC (2007) Endothelial biomedicine p. 67. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521853767
- Scholasticus K. "Hagfish Anatomy". Buzzle.com. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/hagfish-anatomy.html. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
Other websites[change | edit source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Myxini|
|Wikispecies has information on: Myxinidae.|
- FishBase entry for Myxinidae
- OceanLink description of hagfish
- Tree of life illustration showing hagfish's relation to other organisms
- YouTube 5+ minute video of Scripps scientist/diver on hagfish
- Metacafe video of a University of Alberta grad student showing slime production of hagfish while in Bamfield, British Columbia