Skip to main content

Hagfish

Hagfish is the term for one of a 60 species of very ancient fish that live on sea floors around the world. The oldest fossil Hagfish was discovered in 1991, and is strikingly similar to today's Hagfish, demonstrating that they have changed very little in 300 million years. In fact, Hagfish are so old that they split from the human line over 500 million years ago.

Image Source
There is great debate as to whether or not Hagfish are really even fish. Heck, are they even vertebrates? Hagfish have skulls, but no vertebrae. They don't even have jaws. The remainder of the body is made up entirely of cartilage. They have smooth, scaleless bodies, and no fins. Not a whole lot is known about Hagfish reproductive habits, but it is believed that they are born hermaphroditic and settle into a sex as they mature.

Hagfish are blind, though the simple eye that they possess actually is a valuable tool in tracing the evolution of more complex eyes. To make up for their blindness, they have exceptional senses of touch and small. Hagfish are able to search out meals on the dark sea floor using said senses, and these meal often consist of small sea-floor worms. However, Hagfish have a secondary, quite gruesome feeding method. They can attach themselves to dead or injured creatures that are much larger than themselves. They are then able to burrow in to the body of said animal and literally consume it from the inside out.

Another gross thing about Hagfish? The slime. Hagfish secrete a thick mucus from their bodies that serves a a defense mechanism. It is said that a single adult hagfish can secrete up to a gallon of this mucus at a time. The mucus is also full of tiny fibers that make it exceptionally thick and difficult to deal with.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

Binturong

The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe