Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is located in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico (Fernholm and Hubbs 1981, McEachran and Fechhelm 1998).
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Western Central Atlantic: Northeastern Gulf of Mexico.
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Gulf of Mexico.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 590 mm TL
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Max. size

59.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 31276))
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Diagnostic Description

Gill apertures 6. Slime pores: prebranchial 16-19; branchial 2-5; trunk 52-57; tail 9-13; total 84-92.
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Type Information

Type for Eptatretus springeri
Catalog Number: USNM 161512
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Year Collected: 1951
Locality: Gulf of Mexico, Florida, United States, Atlantic
Depth (m): 465 to 465
Vessel: Oregon
  • Type:
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Paratype for Eptatretus springeri
Catalog Number: USNM 161513
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Year Collected: 1951
Locality: Gulf of Mexico: Off Florida, Florida, United States, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic
Vessel: Oregon
  • Paratype:
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found on the continental slope at depths from 400-730 m depth.

The copulatory organ is absent in this species. 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 (Patzner 1998).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

bathydemersal; non-migratory; marine; depth range 400 - 730 m (Ref. 31276)
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Depth range based on 6 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 440 - 730
  Temperature range (°C): 6.460 - 8.590
  Nitrate (umol/L): 28.133 - 31.503
  Salinity (PPS): 34.886 - 35.013
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.818 - 3.335
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.778 - 1.877
  Silicate (umol/l): 18.862 - 24.836

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 440 - 730

Temperature range (°C): 6.460 - 8.590

Nitrate (umol/L): 28.133 - 31.503

Salinity (PPS): 34.886 - 35.013

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.818 - 3.335

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.778 - 1.877

Silicate (umol/l): 18.862 - 24.836
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 400 - 730m.
From 400 to 730 meters.

Habitat: bathydemersal.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

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 ).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Mincarone, M.M. & Mok, H.-K.

Reviewer/s
Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.

Contributor/s
Pollock, C.M.

Justification
This species is only known from a few specimens collected in the Gulf of Mexico. There are no known threats to this species. However, may be caught incidentally in bottom trawling fisheries within the shallower depths of its range. It is listed as Least Concern. More research is needed on this species distribution, population, biology, life history, and potential threats.
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Population

Population
The population of this species is known from only a few museum specimens.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no known targeted threats to this species but it is incidentally caught by bottom trawlers and possibly trappers. There are three deep-sea fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico for Rock Shrimp, Royal Red Shrimp and calico scallops and these operate at the shallower depths where species occurs. For example, the Royal Red Shrimp fishery operates from 250-475 m depth range within the distribution of the species (Stiles et al. 2007).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no conservation measures in place, but more research is needed on this species' biology, population size, distribution and the impact of bycatch from deep-sea trawling activities, in particular pressure from royal red shrimp fishery.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest
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Wikipedia

Gulf hagfish

The gulf hagfish (Eptatretus springeri) is the only known species with the ability to enter brine pools, or pools of extremely high salt content, unharmed. These pools resemble lakes on the ocean floor. They exist in both the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. The high salt content, approximately 200 ppt compared to 35 ppt for standard seawater, creates a buoyant surface which renders oceanic submersibles unable to descend into the pool. Often, other species can be seen floating lifelessly on the surface. It is believed that the pools only support bacterial life.

References

See also

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