It is a harmless scaleless, eel-like animal with a pinkish body, a whitish head and a whitish mid dorsal stripe. The size of captured specimens ranges between 91 and 394 mm.
The Southern hagfish is found in the cold waters of the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean from the coasts off Southwestern Brazil down to the Southern Ocean and the Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonian coasts of Chile and Argentina, including the Strait of Magellan. 
It lives hidden in the mud in relatively shallow water, between 10 and 100 metres. Its life cycle is unknown.
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