Eptatretus caribbeaus

Common Name

Caribbean Hagfish

Year Described

Fernholm, 1982


Slime Pores
Prebranchial: 13-15
Branchial: 6
Trunk: 47-52
Tail: 11-13
Total: 79-85

Anterior unicusps: 11-13
Posterior unicusps: 10-11
Total cusps: 54-58
Tooth formula: 3/3

Body anguilliform and cylindrical. There are seven gill openings. Gill openings linear. Branchial ducts tapering to a smaller size posteriorly. Anal finfold low and poorly developed.


Described as pale brown in preservative, with a pale belly and pale body pores.


Adults range from 33-39cm TL.


Captured over soft bottoms from 365-500m.


Known from off Honduras to the offshore area between Nicaragua and Colombia.


Fernholm, B. 1982. Eptatretus caribbeaus: a new species of hagfish (Myxinidae) from the Caribbean. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 32 (2): 434-438.

Mincarone, M. M. 2007. Revisao Taxonomica da Familia Myxinidae Rafinesque, 1814 (Myxiniformes). Tese de Doutorado, Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.

Other Notes

This is the only described seven-gilled hagfish from the Caribbean. The Brazilian species Eptatretus menezesi has more total and tail pores. An undescribed species with seven gill openings is known from off the Bahamas as “Eptatretus sp.A”. A close relative is E. multidens, which shares the same tooth formula but has only six gill openings (Fernholm, 1982).