Myxine jespersenae

Common Name

Whiteheaded Hagfish

Year Described

Møller, Feld, Poulsen, Thomsen & Thormar, 2005


Slime Pores
Prebranchial: 28-37
Branchial: 0
Trunk: 65-74
Tail: 11-15
Total: 107-121

Anterior unicusps: 7-9
Posterior unicusps: 8-10
Total cusps: 38-44
Tooth formula: 2/2

Body anguilliform and cylindrical. There are normally six gill pouches. No branchial pores (present in Eptratretus). Ventral and caudal finfolds well developed.


Body dark grayish-brown with a prominent white head. Ventrum becoming either all white or with white blotches below level of slime pores. Ventral finfold, caudal margin, and pore margins white.


Maximum size to 50cm TL.


Taken in deep waters over mud bottoms from 752-1556m. Normally deeper living than the Atlantic Hagfish.


Known from the Davis Straight and S. Greenland. Possibly more widespread in the deep NW Atlantic.


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

Møller, P. R. , T. K. Feld, I. H. Poulsen, P. F. Thomsen and J. G. Thormar. 2005. Myxine jespersenae, a new species of hagfish (Myxiniformes: Myxinidae) from the North Altnatic Ocean. Copeia 2005 (2): 374-385.

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

Deep-dwelling hagfishes with white heads in the northern Atlantic appear to be this species. The similar Myxine glutinosa/limosa lives in shallower waters and has a different color pattern in the western Atlantic (Møller et al., 2005).