Myxine affinis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Myxini Myxiniformes Myxinidae

Scientific Name: Myxine affinis Günther, 1870
Common Name(s):
English Patagonian Hagfish
Spanish Anguila, Anguila Babosa, Babosa, Babosa de Mar
Muraenoblenna olivacea Lacepède, 1803
Taxonomic Notes: The holotype of Myxine affinis (BMNH 1951.10.4.3) was examined, but it was not possible to take any measurement or count (except teeth), as the specimen was totally dried. Three paralectotypes of Myxine tridentiger Garman, 1899 (BMNH 1868.6.15.5-6) were recently examined and re-identified as Myxine affinis. They were formerly misidentified as Myxine australis by Günther (1870).

Muraenoblenna olivacea La Cepède (1803) from Strait of Magellan was placed in the synonymy of the younger Myxine affinis as nomen dubium by Wisner and McMillan (1995). It is an undoubted Myxine, but can’t be referred with certainty to any species due to the fact that La Cepède’s description was very short and no type material is available for examination.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-11
Assessor(s): Mincarone, M.M.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is only known from southern Argentina and Chile, where it may be abundant. Although it is found in relatively shallow waters there is little fishing activity within its range. It is listed as Least Concern. However, this species should be carefully monitored, as it has a restricted range and a crustacean trap fishery is opening up within the Straits of Magellan, which will increase its vulnerability to capture as bycatch.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is found along the southern coasts of Chile and Argentina within and adjacent to the Straits of Magellan, Beagle Channel, and other channel systems around Tierra del Fuego, including Isla de los Estados and Cape Horn (Wisner and McMillan 1995).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Chile
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):146
Upper depth limit (metres):3
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population is likely to be abundant for this species but this is based on 256 specimens collected by Wisner and McMillan (1995) through scientific surveys. No specimens have been recorded as bycatch but it is highly possible they are incidentally caught. There are no indications of population trends.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is usually found on muddy and sandy bottoms in shallow coastal waters, at depths from 3-146 m. Of 256 specimens examined by Wisner and McMillan (1995), 171 (67%) were female, 48 (19%) male and 37 (14%) hermaphroditic. Numbers and sizes of large eggs range from 36 (20 x 6 mm) in a female of 550 mm to 17 (26 x 9mm) in one of 475 mm.

The copulatory organ is absent for 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).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known threats to this species. A crustacean trap fishery has recently opened up in the Straits of Magellan but the extent and severity of its activities are not yet known (R. Meléndez pers. comm.). Very little fishing occurs in the Beagle Channel due to the volatile nature of the area. Fishing activity is only occurring within 20% of its currently known distribution range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures taken to protect this species. More research is needed on this species' biology, population size, distribution and impact of fishing activities.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy

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]

Adam, H. and Strahan, R. 1963. Systematics and geographical distribution of myxinoids. In: A. Brodal and R. Fänge (eds), The biology of Myxine, pp. 588. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo.

Bigelow, H.B. and Schroeder, W.C. 1948. Cyclostomes. In: J. Tee-Van, C.M. Breder, S.F. Hildebrand, A.E. Parr and W.C. Schroeder (eds), Fishes of the western North Atlantic, pp. 29-58. Memoir. Sears Foundation for Marine Research.

Garman, S. 1899. The fishes. Reports on an exploration off the west coasts of Mexico, Central and South America, and off the Galapagos Islands in charge of Alexander Agassiz, by the the U.S. Fish Commission steamer "Albatross", during 1891, Lieut. Commander Z. L. Tanner, U.S.N., commanding. XXVI, pp. 1-431. Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 30 June 2017).

La Cepède, B.G.E. 1803. Histoire naturelle des poissons. Paris 5(i-lxviii): 1-21.

Lloris, D. and Rucabado, J. 1991. Ictiofauna del canal Beagle (Tierra de Fuego), aspectos ecológicos y análisis biogeográfico. Publicaciones Especiales. Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia, Madrid, Spain.

Mincarone, M.M. and Soto, J.M.R. 2001. First record of southern hagfish Myxine australis (Myxinidae) in Brazilian waters. Mare Magnum 1(2): 125-127.

Nani, A. and Gneri, F.S. 1951. Introduccion al estudio de los mixinoideos sudamericanos. I. Un nuevo genero de “babosa de mar”, Notomyxine (clase Myxini, familia Myxinidae). Rivadavia e Instituto Nacional de Investigacion de las Ciencias Naturales. Ciencias Zoologia 2(4): 183-224.

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.

Wisner, R.L. and McMillan, C.B. 1995. Review of new world hagfishes of the genus *Myxine* (Agnatha, Myxinidae) with descriptions of nine new species. Fisheries Bulletin 93(3): 530-550.

Citation: Mincarone, M.M. 2011. Myxine affinis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T196049A8997881. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
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