Myxini (hagfishes) > Myxiniformes
(Hagfishes) > Myxinidae
(Hagfishes) > Eptatretinae
Etymology: Eptatretus: hepta (Gr.), seven; tretos (Gr.), perforated (i.e., with holes), referring to seven gill apertures on what would later be described as Homea banksii (=E. cirrhatus) [range within genus is 6-14 pairs of gill apertures]. (See ETYFish); hexatrema: hexa- (Gr.), six; trema (Gr.) hole, referring to six gill apertures per side. (See ETYFish).
More on author: Müller.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; demersal; non-migratory; depth range 10 - 400 m (Ref. 36731), usually 10 - 45 m (Ref. 31276). Subtropical; 23°S - 35°S
Southeast Atlantic: known only from Walvis Bay, Namibia to Durban, South Africa.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 80.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 36731)
Commonly burrows in muddy bottoms (Ref. 27121). Feeds mostly by scavenging on dead or disabled fish (Ref. 27121). It is parasitised by the monogenean Myxinidocotyle eptatreti on the body surface (Ref. 124056).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Copulatory organ absent. The gonads of hagfishes are situated in the peritoneal cavity. The ovary is found in the anterior portion of the gonad, and the testis is found in the posterior part. The animal becomes female if the cranial part of the gonad develops or male if the caudal part undergoes differentiation. If none develops, then the animal becomes sterile. If both anterior and posterior parts develop, then the animal becomes a functional hermaphrodite. However, hermaphroditism being characterised as functional needs to be validated by more reproduction studies (Ref. 51361 ).
Fernholm, B., 1998. Hagfish systematics. p. 33-44. In J.M. Jørgensen, J.P. Lomholt, R.E. Weber and H. Malte (eds.) The biology of hagfishes. Chapman & Hall, London. 578 p. (Ref. 31276)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 126983)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 123201
): 16.6 - 25.7, mean 23.8 °C (based on 34 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00204 (0.00094 - 0.00446), b=2.92 (2.73 - 3.11), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.55 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Fec assumed to be <100).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (52 of 100).