Nov 012011
Hagfish defense mechanism

Impressive series of video clips from the scientists at Massey University and the University of Western Australia. Demonstrates conclusively the effectiveness of a hagfishes (snot-eel) defense mechanisms on a Kitefin Shark and a couple of greedy hapuka. Footage is shot off Great Barrier Island and at the Three Kings.
Excerpt from the original source: “Hagfishes (Myxinidae) are a family of jawless marine pre-vertebrates. Those video images taken in New Zealand revealed that hagfishes are able to choke their would-be predators with gill-clogging slime.It also shows that hagfishes are actively preying on other fish in New Zealand waters.”

The video is part of a scientific paper describing this newly discovered behaviour which can be downloaded online at

Reference: Zintzen V., Roberts, C.D., Anderson M.J., Stewart A.L., Struthers C.D. & Harvey E.S. (2011) Hagfish predatory behaviour and slime defence
mechanism. Scientific Reports 1, 131; DOI:10.1038/srep00131

Video is courtesy of Te Papa and was originally posted on the NZ Herald website.