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Scientific Classification
  • Rubicundinae
  • Rubicundus
  • Eptatretinae

The Hagfish also known as Eptatretus stoutii is a fish species that is known for its slimy texture and terrifying appearance. Even though it is a type of fish, The Hagfish is unique because it has its own Class and has it's species inhabit most of the Phylum its in. Most people think because of its body type that it is a poisonous creature, but it actually isn't because they are not related to stingrays or eels. The Hagfish is most related to the Lamprey because of both species having no jaw which means they are Agnatha. [1] Most Hagfish are found in the Pacific Ocean where they inhabit their families and grow their population to make them compete with lampreys to be the most populated species as Agnatha. Most Hagfish can actually kill predators like Sharks with their slime to make them stop attacking as a sign of whats to come.[2]

Body Design

The upper jaw of the Hagfish

The Hagfish body design is very simple yet extraordinary, It's body is like an eels but instead of having a oval shaped head it's head stops towards its neck. It's head is like a buzz-saw that it can use to attach anything to and has two eyes on top of the buzz-saw shaped head. It is one of the only fish that have this unique body design[3] The way the Hagfish looks is defined by many as the ugliest fish in the sea and has never been consistently looked at by other creatures underwater due to its intimidating look.

Life Cycle

Young Adult Hagfish migrating together
The Hagfish is very unique in all other areas of its life span but the only boring and less sophisticated topic of the Hagfish has to be it's life cycle. The hagfish's life cycle happens when the female and male Hagfish mate and create eggs during the summer when it is warm and the right temperature. After the eggs hatch, The baby Hagfish looks exactly like the adult Hagfish but smaller and only takes 3 months to grow into an Adult. The Hagfish only has 3 Stages of life cycle and that is egg, young adult, and adult. When the Hagfish is an adult, it has to provide for the eggs by scraping food from the bottom of the sea and using it's head to feed the eggs with the food the adult has provided.[4]


Map of Southern Hagfish inhabiting Brazilian waters.
The Hagfish mostly live under the deep waters all across the world. But the one place they mostly inhabit is the Atlantic Ocean far up north. The reason they can live far up north is because in the cold waters they can make their slime ten times more than in regular temperature water. There is as close as over 1-5 million Hagfish currently living in the Atlantic Ocean due to how much they can reproduce their offspring in cold temperature. During the summer time the Hagfish have a time of Aestivation where the Hagfish take a break from making slime and producing offspring so that they can feed and take care of their young. In today's world, a regular Hagfish's slime can be sold for about $55.00 in any market on the east coast of The United States. [5]

Hagfish Slime

The Hagfish's Predator Slime Deterrence

The Hagfish has many ways of resisting it's predators by using its slime. One way a Hagfish can use it's slime is by protecting itself with the thick layers of the slime making a protective coat that makes the Hagfish not vulnerable to severe attacks. Another way a Hagfish can use it's slime is by trapping it's prey with the slime and causing it to suffocate until it has ran out of oxygen to produce. The third primary way a Hagfish can use it's slime is by collecting food that is guarded by predators in the deep waters. First the Hagfish makes the slime by fertilization, then it becomes more and more sticky each second. The Hagfish then uses the slime as a grappling hook to get whatever it wants such as food, prey, protection and much more! [6]


Sliming of a Hagfish


  1. Forey P. & Janvier P. Agnathans and the origin of jawed vertebrates. Nature 361, 129–134 (1993).
  2. Broadal, A., R. Fange. 1963. The Biology of Myxine. Oslo: Grondahl & Son. Accessed October 15, 2005 at
  3. Clark, Andrew California Department of Fish and Wildlife "California Department of Fish and Wildlife" Last accessed 16 October 2007.
  4. University of Queensland (UQ). 2003. Keeping an eye on evolution. Retrieved June 1, 2008
  5. "Pacific Hagfishes, Eptatretus stoutii "" MarineBio Conservation Society [Last update: 1/14/2013 2:22:00 PM] Author Unknown.
  6. Meeuwenberg, Levi [1]"Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada." Published 2005, Dec 15).