Fact File:

Common Name(s):

Scientific Name:
Myxine glutinosa

Usual Size:
up to 45cms.

UK Record Weights from rod/line:



MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:


A hermaphrodite, which lays numerous, large eggs in a hard case. It is unlikely that these fish are self-fertilising hermaphrodites and need a partner to breed.

Hagfish are found in all depth of water and lie buried in fine sands or silt when not feeding

Most fish, living or dead. Hagfish are the first fish to find their way to any dead animals which find their way to the seabed. They are parasitic on live fish, attaching themselves to the side and slowly eating their way through the fish. It has been known to find Cod with as many as 30 young Hagfish attached to them.

Common throughout Europe.

Additional Notes:
Hagfish belong to the group of primitive, jawless fish which includes the marine and freshwater lampreys. They are considered a threat to commercial fish stocks of the North Sea because if the fish are not killed outright by the attacks, they usually succumb to later infections caused by the large wounds left by the Hagfish. The 30cm specimen shown in the photographs was found buried in fine sand in Whitburn Harbour, South Tyneside.

An unmistakable eel-like body that is uniformly pink in colour. The mouth is a slit surrounded by fringe of short, fleshy barbels. A fleshy fin runs from the vent to the rear portion of the back, and a row pores runs along both sides from the head to the tail. A thick layer of glutinous slime (hence specific name) covers the whole body and can be sloughed in copious amounts when handled – as the photograph shows.

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