Eptatretus mendozai


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eptatretus mendozai
Species Authority: Hensley, 1985
Taxonomic Notes: Fernholm and Hubbs (1981) discussed and presented a photograph of a specimen (USNM 218400) named "Eptatretus sp. C" off the north coast of Haiti, which they were hesitant to describe as new until more material become available. Hensley (1985) re-examined this specimen and concluded that, in spite of some meristic variations, it could be identified as E. mendozai.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern 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.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, H.T., Lutz, M.L., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J., Livingston, F., Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M.
This species is known only from 12 specimens from Puerto Rico and Haiti. There are no known threats likely to affect this species, given its deep water habitat (720-1,100 m). It is listed as Least Concern. However, more research is needed on this species population, biology, life history, and potential threats.
2010 Data Deficient
2009 Data Deficient (IUCN 2010.4)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is located off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico and probably off the north coast of Haiti (Hensley 1985).
Haiti; Puerto Rico
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population information for this species is only known from 12 specimens.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found on mud and clay bottoms, at depths from 720-1,100 m. According to Hensley (1985), of 11 specimens examined, eight females (309-450 mm) were mature (contained vitellogenic oocytes and/or atretic material indicating previous vitellogenesis) and inactive, containing oocytes of 0.2-1.5 mm. Oocytes of 1.0-1.5 were becoming ellipsoid. This probably reflects an early stage of oocyte maturation. Three males (350-384 mm) were mature, containing cysts in various stages of maturation but very few spermatozoa. 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): This is a deep water species and no known threats currently exist.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures in place, but more research is needed on the species' biology, population size, distribution and impacts.

Bibliography [top]

Fernholm, B. and Hubbs, C.L. 1981. Western Atlantic hagfishes of the genus Eptatretus (Myxinidae) with description of two new species. Fishery Bulletin 79(1): 69-83.

Hensley, D.A. 1985. Eptatretus mendozai, a new species of hagfish (Myxinidae) from off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. Copeia 4: 865-869.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Patzner, R.A. 1998. Gonads and reproduction in hagfishes. In: J.M. Jørgensen, J.P. Lomholt, R.E. Weber, and H. Malte (eds), The biology of hagfishes, pp. 378-395. Chapman & Hall, London.

Citation: Mincarone, M.M. 2013. Eptatretus mendozai. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 01 April 2015.
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