As a member of the marine class of creatures, the hagfish has long been associated with “slime”, given the fact that they are known to produce vast quantities mucous.
Popularly referred to as “slime eels”, they are considered to be one of the more unique marine animals, bearing an eel like form that comes with a skull but no vertebral column, which essentially defines them as one of the few “living fossils” found underwater.
Known to grow as long as 19 inches, certain hagfish species are known to measure up to four feet in length, with different types of hagfish sporting different colors, from plain black, black and white spots, blue grey hues to pink tones.
Found in different parts of the world, there are 77 known hagfish species, with some of these only recently discovered due to the fact that they reside quite deep underwater.
As a species, hagfishes are not often kept as pets nor as food commodities, a status which hails from their “slime eel” reputation. After all, the “slime” it produces tends to cause a dent when talking about cleaning up their enclosures and such.
However, the inshore hagfish typically found in the Northwest Pacific regions is quite valued as a delicacy in Korea, where the slime it produces is typically used in different types of culinary specialties and cuisines.
Bearing an eel-like appearance and physical characteristics which haven’t changed since 300 million years in the past, hagfishes remain to be one of the more mysterious underwater creatures, a true “living fossil” that is alive and well today.