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Eptatretus minor

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MYXINI MYXINIFORMES MYXINIDAE

Scientific Name: Eptatretus minor
Species Authority: Fernholm & Hubbs, 1981
Taxonomic Notes: The 338 mm female USNM 161513 (paratype of Paramyxine springeri) is in fact an E. minor, as previously reported by Fernholm and Hubbs (1981) and confirmed by recent examination.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-11-10
Assessor(s): Mincarone, M.M.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.
Justification:
This species is only known from the Gulf of Mexico. Its distribution and known depth range directly overlaps with current and potential commercial trawling for shrimp and scallop fisheries. It has also been recorded as by-catch in these fisheries. However, the impact of trawling on this species population and habitat quality is not known. It is listed as Data Deficient. More research is needed on this species population, life history, biology and impact of trawling activity.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found in the northern Gulf of Mexico, from Louisiana to Florida. The area has been extensively surveyed and distribution range does not appear to extend further east or west.
Countries:
Native:
United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is known from a few museum specimens. Additional specimens have been recorded from trawling activities and scientific sampling efforts.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found on the upper continental slope at depths from 300-472 m. According to Fernholm and Hubbs (1981), the bottom temperature in the distribution area is about 8.9-11.5°C, and the bottom type includes mud, sand, gravel, and corals. The northernmost records indicate an overlap in distribution of E. minor and Paramyxine springeri in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, however it appears that E. minor lives at shallower depths (300-472 m) than P. springeri (400-730m). Eptatretus minor is a relatively short and stout species, maturing at a small size. The shortest known specimens are two mature males, 223 mm each, and a ripe female, 310 mm, with 12 eggs measuring about 31x10 mm. Some females contained ripe eggs (25-33 mm) in April, June, July, September, October, and November, suggesting that population spawned throughout the year (Fernholm and Hubbs 1981).

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): 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 depths where species occurs. The Royal Red Shrimp fishery directly overlaps with the currently known distribution range of the species and 250-475 m depth range (Stiles et al. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

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 Red Rock Shrimp fishery.

Citation: Mincarone, M.M. 2013. Eptatretus minor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 November 2014.
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