Hagfish found to eat through its skin

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study in Canada has shown that the primitive fish called the Hagfish, which has the habit of burrowing into dead or dying creatures on the sea bed, eats by absorption through its skin and gills as well ...

The ultimate biofilament: Hagfish slime

(Phys.org) —Perhaps the worst fate to be had in the sea is to be slimed by the hagfish. The proteinaceous goo they secrete has gotten many a hagfish out of bind by gumming up the gills and suffocating a would be attacker. ...

Scientists film hagfish anti-shark slime weapon

(PhysOrg.com) -- The hagfish found in New Zealand’s deepest waters is grotesque enough, thanks to its scary protruding teeth straight from a horror film.  Now, scientists have witnessed the full power of its other ...

Discovery sheds light on how vertebrates see

New research led by the University of Leicester has overturned a long-standing theory on how vertebrates evolved their eyes by identifying remarkable details of the retina in the eyes of 300 million year-old lamprey and hagfish ...

Researchers explain the unique properties of hagfish slime

Hagfish are marine fish shaped like eels, famous for releasing large quantities of "slime" that unfolds, assembles and expands into the surrounding water in response to a threat or a predator's attack. This defense mechanism ...

Study solves part of hagfish slime mystery

University of Guelph researchers have unravelled some of the inner workings of slime produced by one of nature's most bizarre creatures – hagfish.

A vertebrate family reunion

By demonstrating the close 'relatedness' of two primitive jawless fish, scientists begin to assemble a more accurate depiction of the early history of vertebrate evolution.

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Hagfish

Hagfish are marine craniates of the class Agnatha or Myxini, also known as Hyperotreti. Some researchers regard Myxini as not belonging to the subphylum Vertebrata. That is, they are the only living animals that have a skull but not a vertebral column.

Despite their name, there is some debate about whether they are strictly fish (as there is for lampreys), since they belong to a much more primitive lineage than any other group that is placed in the category of fish (Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes). The earliest fossil record dates back approximately 550 million years, or earlier to the Lower Cambrian period. Their unusual feeding habits and slime-producing capabilities have led members of the scientific community and popular media to dub the hagfish as the most "disgusting" of all sea creatures. Although hagfish are sometimes called "slime eels", they are not eels at all.

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