Myxine australis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Myxini Myxiniformes Myxinidae

Scientific Name: Myxine australis Jenyns, 1842
Common Name(s):
English Southern Hagfish
Spanish Babosa del Mar
Myxine acutifrons Garman, 1899

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-11-11
Assessor(s): Mincarone, M.M.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread and common. Although this species is likely impacted by shallow-water bottom trawling within at least parts of its range, there is no indication of widespread population decline. Globally it is listed as Least Concern.

Only two specimens have been collected from Brazil, and bottom trawling is occurring throughout this species known depth and distribution range. However, more information is needed to determine this species distribution, population status, and impact of trawling within Brazil. In Brazil it therefore has a regional assessment of Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is located off the southern coast of South America, from southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) to southern Chile (Golfo de Corcovado, Chiloé Island), including Tierra del Fuego and Strait of Magellan (Mincarone and Soto 2001). It was also reported from the South Shetland Islands based on a single 230 mm specimen (Norman 1937, Hureau and Fischer 1985, Fernholm 1990).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Brazil; Chile
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – Antarctic; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):146
Upper depth limit (metres):4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is known to be common, particularly along the coast of Argentina. However there are no data to interpret population levels and rates of decline.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is usually taken on muddy bottoms in shallow coastal waters at depths from 4-146 m. The Brazilian record is based on only two females, 250-292 mm, taken on the continental shelf at 30-45m depth (Mincarone and Soto 2001, Mincarone 2003). Of 86 specimens examined by Wisner and McMillan (1995), 71 (82%) were female, 12 (14%) male, and three (4%) hermaphroditic. Numbers and sizes of large eggs range from 9 (24 x 8 mm) in a female of 330 mm to 16 (21 x 7 mm) in one of 345 mm.

The biology of this species is unknown and its copulatory organ is absent. 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): The species' distribution and habitat overlaps with an area that is extensively impacted by trawl 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 impact of fisheries activities.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud

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.

Fernholm, B. 1990. Myxinidae. In: O. Gon and P. C. Heemstra (eds), Fishes of the southern ocean., pp. 77-78. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown.

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.

Hureau, J.C. and Fischer, W. 1985. Hagfishes and lampreys. In: W. Fischer and J. C. Hureau (eds), Southern Ocean, CCAMLR convention area. Fishing areas 48, 58 and 88. v. 1., pp. 207-208. FAO Species Identification Sheets for Fisheries Purposes, Rome.

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

Jenyns, L. 1842. Fish. In: C. Darwin (ed.), The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836., pp. 97-172. Smith, Elder and Co., London.

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. 2003. Família Myxinidae. In: N.A. Menezes, P.A. Buckup, J.L. Figueiredo and R.L. Moura (eds), Catálogo das espécies de peixes marinhos do Brasil., pp. 21. Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo.

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.

Møller, P.R., Feld, T.K., Poulsen, I.H., Thomsen, P.F. and Thormar, J.G. 2005. Myxine jespersenae, a new species of hagfish (Myxiniformes: Myxinidae) from the North Atlantic Ocean. Copeia 2: 374-385.

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.

Norman, J.R. 1935. Coast fishes. Part I. The South Atlantic. Discovery Report vol. XII.

Norman, J.R. 1937. Coast fishes. Part II. The Patagonian region (including the Straits of Magellan and the Falkland Island)..

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.

Regan, C.T. 1913. A revision of the myxinoids of the genus Myxine. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 11(8): 395-398.

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 australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T196050A8998314. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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