Atlantic Hagfish

Atlantic Hagfish. Photo credit: DFO, C. Nozères.

Photo credit: DFO, C. Nozères.

Latin Name

Myxine glutinosa

Group Name


Taxonomy details


Atlantic hagfish are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Greenland to the Gulf of Mexico in the west, and from Norway to Morocco in the east. They live on muddy ocean floors at depth ranges of about 20 to 1000 metres, burying themselves during the day and emerging at night to hunt.

Species Description

Atlantic hagfish are long and serpentine in shape, resembling eels or lampreys. Their skin is particularly slimy because it is covered with with mucus-secreting glands.They have a cartilaginous skeleton-no bones-and instead of a jaw, they have a round mouth filled with horn-like teeth, some on them on their tongue. Their coloration varies depending on the colour of the ocean bottom, but will usually be brown, reddish or purplish-brown, or grey, becoming paler on their underside. Atlantic hagfish are also distinguished by the barbels ("whiskers") around their mouth and nostrils. They are usually 45-60 centimetres long. Their life span is unknown.