• Norwegian: slimål


The body is long and slender like an eel. A single fin appears to run along the body, all the way around the tail. This is not a fin however, but a rather a skin fold. The skin is scale less. A small, star-shaped mouth is placed under the head. Around the mouth there are four barbells or tentacles. The pink colored body may reach a length of 60 cm.

The Atlantic hagfish has the capability to produce a significant amount of slime when disturbed. A single individual easily converts a bucket of water to slime in seconds. This is their main defense against other predators. Other animals could choke while trying to chew a hagfish.

The fertilization are believed to be external. Identification of the sex is impossible for juvenile hagfishes as each individual has both ovaries and testes. However, the gonads of only one sex are functional in adults. The digestive system lacks a stomach.


The Atlantic hagfish is most frequent deeper than 15-20 meters. It has been registered as deep as 1300 meters. It prefers soft substrate where it can burry itself when threatened by potential enemies.


It is widespread on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean.