Hagfish facts and info. Know Hagfish weight loss program, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and so on See attention-grabbing facts of Hagfish in our animal facts archive.

Scientific identify: Mxyine species and others
Scientific classification:
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Myxini
Order: Myxiniformes
Family: Myxinidae

What do they seem like? Hagfish are elongate, wormlike animals ranging in size from 18 to 116 cm. The pores and skin is easy with out scales and might be pinkish, gray, or black. They lack eyes and have sensory barbels across the mouth. They don't have any fins, however the tail is flattened from aspect to aspect.

Where do they stay? Hagfish are discovered world wide, in chilly temperate waters. They are discovered on or close to the ocean backside, down to depths of 1000 m and in all probability extra, and will typically makes burrows within the muddy ooze of the seabed.

Characteristics

The first time somebody sees a hagfish, the standard response is abject disgust. Although these will not be probably the most engaging animals, hagfish are nonetheless very attention-grabbing. They are scavengers, and they swim slowly, sniffing for the odor of loss of life and decay within the water, which can point out the presence of a useless or dying fish close by. As the hagfish has no jaws, it can't chunk chunks from the carcasses it finds. Instead, it fixes two pairs of ####y rasps carried on a tongue-like construction to the carcass and then ties a knot in its very flexible physique. The knot is pressured down towards the pinnacle finish of the animal, and when it reaches the carcass, it offers leverage to the rasping equipment, which is retracted, pinching a few of the flesh from the carcass.

This method is great when the carcass in query is small; nonetheless, often the hagfish could probability upon the bounteous feast of a whale carcass. In this case, the hagfish can be joined by enormous numbers of its kin that seek for a straightforward method into the useless animal. Of course, the obvious route into the physique is thru a pure aperture, such because the anus, eyes, ears, or blowhole. Once contained in the carcass they'll devour the comfortable organs.

The rasps of the hagfish will also be used to catch marine invertebrates, reminiscent of polychaete worms, which seem to make up the majority of its weight loss program. Although the hagfish is a really environment friendly scavenger and predator of small animals, its metabolic fee could be very gradual, so it could go for as a lot as seven months with out feeding.
Not solely is the hagfish’s feeding technique somewhat peculiar, however the way in which wherein it defends itself is much more extraordinary.

Along the flanks of the hagfish are a line of slime glands, which in periods of hazard or inactivity pump out enormous portions of gelatinous slime. The slime is used to deter potential predators, heal wounds, and produce a lining for the burrows wherein these animals typically search refuge. Slime manufacturing is so prolific {that a} single hagfish can flip a complete bucket of seawater to slime in slightly over 30 minutes.

So a lot slime is produced that the animal will typically block its single nostril and have to basically sneeze to clear the passage of the thick mucus.

Key Facts

  • There are 64 recognized species of hagfish in 5 genera (Eptatretus, Myxine, Nemamyxine, Neomyxine, and Notomyxine). Although they're thought to symbolize an historical lineage, fossil proof supporting this concept was missing, till lately. A single fossil found on the finish of the 1980s reveals an animal so strikingly related to at this time’s hagfish that it appears they've probably not modified for a minimum of 300 million years. This is outstanding however is testimony to how properly these animals are suited to their atmosphere.
  • Unlike the overwhelming majority of different chordates, the hagfish lacks a cerebrum, cerebellum, jaws, and abdomen. Instead of 1 coronary heart, the hagfish has a systemic coronary heart, plus three accent hearts. The skeleton of the hagfish consists of cartilage and not bone. The digestive tract of the hagfish is uncommon as a result of a lump of food is enclosed in a permeable matrix, and the one different animals recognized to produce this peritrophic membrane are bugs. Also, in contrast to different fish, hagfish should not have a larval stage however develop straight into miniature adults. The eggs of the hagfish are additionally very giant, roughly 2.5 cm lengthy, and solely small numbers are produced. But though the fecundity of the hagfish isn't excessive, they're typically discovered at very excessive densities—up to 15,000 in a really small space. This means that the hagfish have very low ranges of mortality, however then once more, what animal could be silly sufficient to eat one in all these slimy creatures?
  • The slime produced by the hagfish is a fancy and attention-grabbing substance. When it emerges from the slime glands, it absorbs water, swelling enormously. Unlike the slime produced by different animals, hagfish slime accommodates quite a few threadlike fibers, which in all probability give it mechanical power. The slime produced by hagfish is at present being studied for its potential in medical purposes. One attention-grabbing utility is within the promotion of wound therapeutic, because it has been noticed that hagfish wounds heal in a short time and cleanly.
  • For a few years, hagfish have been of no industrial significance, however comparatively lately a thriving hagfish fishery has developed. In Korea, the flesh of these animals is eaten, and the pores and skin is made right into a high-quality leather-based known as eelskin. The Oregon fishery for the Pacific hagfish started in 1988 and peaked in 1992, with 15 vessels catching over 330 tonnes. The fish are caught with both traces baited with useless fish or baited plastic cylinders. As the reproductive fee of the hagfish is low, overfishing might have drastic results on the populations of these very attention-grabbing animals, despite the fact that they've existed on Earth, unchanged, for a lot of hundreds of thousands of years.