Myxine glutinosa

Common Name

Atlantic Hagfish

Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Slime Pores
Prebranchial: 20-40
Branchial: 0
Trunk: 50-69
Tail: 8-16
Total: 85-118

Anterior unicusps: 4-8
Posterior unicusps: 5-8
Total cusps: 29-42
Tooth formula: 2/2

Body anguilliform and cylindrical. There are normally six gill pouches. No branchial pores (present in Eptratretus). Ventral finfold thin and low. Caudal finfold low.


Body pale reddish brown to purplish-red with a paler ventrum. Finfold margins and slime pores with pale margins. Many individuals have a pale midline stripe on the dorsum.


Maximum size to 95cm TL.


Taken on soft bottoms from 75-742m.


Known from off eastern North America from Greenland to the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.


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

Wisner, R. L. & McMillan, C. B. 1995. Review of new world hagfishes of the genus Myxine (Agnatha, Myxinidae) with descriptions of nine new species. Fishery Bulletin 93: 530-550.

Other Notes

Wisner & McMillan (1995) considered western Atlantic Myxine glutinosa to be a separate species, M. limosa. It was distinguished by a smaller size at maturity and different color pattern, but meristics broadly overlapped. Mincarone (2007) considered the morphological evidence too weak to justify splitting the eastern Myxine glutinosa and the western M. limosa, but future study using molecular evidence would possible support the validity of M. limosa. If Myxine limosa is valid, then the northern and western limit of the range of nominate M. glutinosa would be of interest as the shallow water hagfishes of Greenland are not well studied. Therefore the exact break between Myxine limosa and M. glutinosa is not known.