Eptatretus multidens 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Myxini Myxiniformes Myxinidae

Scientific Name: Eptatretus multidens
Species Authority: Fernholm & Hubbs, 1981

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-11-11
Assessor(s): Mincarone, M.M.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread in deeper waters off of the Atlantic South American coast. There are no known threats to this species, and the extent of bottom trawling across its currently known range is presently limited. It is listed as Least Concern. However, more research is needed on this species distribution, population, biology, life history, and potential threats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found along the north and east coast of South America, including Venezuela, French Guiana, and northeastern Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte to Alagoas) (Fernholm and Hubbs 1981, Mincarone and Sampaio 2004). It was also more recently collected from southeastern Brazil, off Espírito Santo (west Vitória-Trindade Seamounts Chain). Its distribution range is known from scientific surveys at two locations in Venezuela, two in French Guyana, and seven locations in Brazil (Mincarone unpubl. data).
Countries occurrence:
Brazil; French Guiana; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest
Lower depth limit (metres): 770
Upper depth limit (metres): 239
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is known from only 16 specimens collected from scientific surveys at two locations in Venezuela, two in French Guyana, and seven locations in Brazil. The size of the population is unknown but this is likely a contiguous population.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found on the continental slope at depths from 239-770 m off north and east coast of South America, and at 676 m depth in the west Vitória-Trindade Seamounts Chain. (Mincarone and Sampaio 2004, Mincarone unpubl. Data).

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 direct threats to this species. The population is likely affected by bottom trawling activity because some specimens were collected and recorded as bycatch. Due to its body size, this species is vulnerable to net fishing gear. At present, deep-bottom trawling is currently not a well developed fishery in the distribution range of the species. In some areas they are beginning to test the potential of these areas for fisheries.

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 bottom trawling activities.

Classifications [top]

11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability: Suitable  

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology

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.

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

Mincarone, M.M. and Sampaio C.L.S. 2004. First record of the hagfish Eptatretus multidens Fernholm & Hubbs, 1981 (Myxinidae) in Brazilian waters. Museu de Cièncias e Tecnologia 17(1).

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 multidens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T196036A8996375. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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