Fish-like vertebrates, jawless fish are similar in shape to eels, with a cartilaginous or fibrous skeleton that has no bones. They have no paired limbs and no developed jaws or bones or teeth. Their extremely slimy skin is devoid of scales. The repulsive-looking hagfish is the most primitive of all living fish, resembling a huge slimy worm. Hagfish are exclusively marine, and only one family is known - Myxinidae. It has the capacity to secrete mucus from its mucus sacs, which are far out of proportion to its size.
They live in cold, deep waters, and one specimen has been recorded at a depth of 4,380 feet.
The largest Hagfish reach 2 feet or more in length.
Life history and Behavior
Food and feeding habits
Their habit of eating mostly dead or mutilated fish makes them doubly unattractive. Fishermen consider them a great nuisance because they penetrate the body of the fish, eating first the guts and then the meat, leaving nothing but skin and bones. Hagfish penetrate the cavity of their prey with a rasp-like tongue. Unlike many lampreys, it is not a parasite. Their eyes are not visible from the outside, and they are thought to be blind. Food is apparently detected by smell.
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||No information|
|Maximum length, cm||76|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||predator|