Rubicundus lopheliae

Common Name

Lophelia Hagfish

Year Described

Fernholm & Quattrini, 2008


Slime Pores
Prebranchial: 19-21
Branchial: 4
Trunk: 45-47
Tail: 17-20
Total: 88-89

Anterior unicusps: 6
Posterior unicusps: 6
Total cusps: 38-41
Tooth formula: 3/3 or 3/4

Body anguilliform, very slender, and cylindrical. There are five gill openings. Ventral finfold not well developed. Nostril elongate and tubular (unique in Atlantic hagfishes).


Body in life brilliant pinkish-orange.


Maximum size to 20.2cm TL.


Found on and around deepwater Lophelia coral reefs from 382-700m.


Known from off the southeastern coast of the U.S. (North Carolina to South Carolina).


Fernholm, B. & A.M. Quattrini, 2008. A new species of hagfish (Myxinidae: Eptatretus) associated with deep-sea coral habitat in the Western North Atlantic. Copeia 2008(1): 126-132.

Fernholm, B. , M. Norén, S.O. Kullander, A.M. Quattrini, V. Zintzen, C.D. Roberts, H.-K. Mok & C.-H. Kuo. 2013. Hagfish phylogeny and taxonomy, with description of the new genus Rubicundus (Craniata, Myxinidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 2013: 1-12.

Other Notes

The genus Rubicundus was erected by Fernholm et al., 2013 to describe the bright orange to red hagfishes with tubular nostrils.

The other five-gilled species described from the western Atlantic is Eptatretus wayuu, which has a 3/2 tooth formula, a duller color, and much fewer total body pores. Eptatretus aceroi is much more slender and is not orange. An undescribed five-gilled species from the southern Caribbean has an orange color pattern but differs in tooth formula and pore number (Fernholm & Quattrini, 2008).