By Bad Seed
Hagfish are amazing ocean fishes! They are found nearly worldwide mostly in deeper ocean environments, and are some of the most primitive fishes in existence today. They feed primarily on dead or dying fish and mammals on the ocean bottom by burrowing inside and eating from the inside out. Hagfish are blind, although they possess eyespots on either side of their heads. They have a unique defense mechanism of sliming. If moved, disturbed, or bitten by a predator, Hagfish can very rapidly produce copious amounts of slime from glands along the sides of their long, eel-like bodies. This slime allows them to escape potential predators, and consists of a filamentous protein that is highly hydrophilic. Scripps Institution of Oceanography Marine Technician, Eddie Kisfaludy, introduces us to the weird world of Hagfish, in particular that of Eptatretus stouti, or the Pacific Hagfish, found off the coast of La Jolla, California. With the help of marine biology intern Lily Bolig, we get a first-hand account of Hagfish slime.