Eptatretus longipinnis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Eptatretus longipinnis
Species Authority: Strahan, 1975
Common Name(s):
English Longfin Hagfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(iii) 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.
This species is only known from southern Australia, and has an extent of occurrence of less than 15,000 km² and its area of occupancy is likely less 2,000 km². It is not targeted by fisheries, but it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation from prawn trawling in at least some parts of its distribution and throughout its depth range. In addition, it is also occasionally caught and discarded as bycatch in gillnet and trap fisheries. Given its relatively restricted range and ongoing declines in habitat quality, it is listed as Vulnerable. This species occurs in a shallow water habitat, and with a known restricted distribution within an area of active fisheries, additional information is needed for a reassessment of its status as this species may warrant being placed in a higher threat category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found off the southeast coast of South Australia, between Robe and Port MacDonnell (Mincarone and Fernholm 2010). The species is endemic to this region. The south coast of Australia has been surveyed and no records have been found east or west of its currently known geographic range.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is known only from eight museum specimens collected from through scientific and commercial trawling and no records have been found extending west and east of its current distribution range. The coast of South Australia has been extensively scientifically surveyed (H. Larson pers. comm. 2009).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is known from specimens collected in shallow waters, at depths from 14-40 m. It occurs on soft bottoms of the continental shelf (Paxton et al. 1989, Mincarone and Fernholm 2010). 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 species is not known to be targeted in fisheries, but it is reportedly part of the discarded bycatch in the gillnet, hook and trap fishery (Bromhead and Bolton 2005) and has occasionally been recorded as bycatch in rock lobster pots (OZCAM database 2007). Prawn bottom trawling is occurring within the distribution and known depth range of this species, and is likely having a negative impact on habitat quality.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The south coast of Australia is managed for conservation and fishing through the Southern Marine Regional Plan. Marine Protected Areas in close proximity to the species' range include Aldinga Reef and Port Philips Head. More research is needed on the species' biology, population size, distribution and impacts.

Bibliography [top]

Bromhead, D. and Bolton, S. 2005. Potential interactions between Commonwealth managed fisheries (Summary of final report). Bureau of Rural Sciences., Canberra.

Gomon, M.F. and Mincarone, M.M. 2008. Family Myxinidae Hagfishes. In: M.F. Gomon, D.J. Bray and R.H. Kuiter (eds), Fishes of Australia’s southern coast, pp. 26-27. New Holland Press & Museum, Victoria, Australia.

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

OZCAM database. 2007. Atlas of Living Australia Tools. Available at:

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.

Strahan, R. 1975. Eptatretus longipinnis, n. sp., a new hagfish (family Eptatretidae) from South Australia, with a key to the 5-7 gilled Eptatretidae. The Australian Zoologist 18(3): 137-148.

Citation: Mincarone, M.M. 2013. Eptatretus longipinnis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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