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Myxine circifrons

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MYXINI MYXINIFORMES MYXINIDAE

Scientific Name: Myxine circifrons
Species Authority: Garman, 1899
Common Name(s):
English Whiteface Hagfish
Spanish Lamprea Babosa, Lamprea de Mar

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-11-12
Assessor(s): Mincarone, M.M.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L. & Carpenter, K.E.
Justification:
This species is widespread in the Eastern Pacific, and is considered common. Although there may be some deep-sea trawl fisheries operating within at least part of the depth and distributional range of this species, there is no current indication of widespread population decline. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is located in the eastern Pacific, from San Francisco (California, USA) to San Antonio (central Chile) (Wisner and McMillan 1995).
Countries:
Native:
Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – southeast
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population for this species is known from many specimens collected from Southern California, Gulf of California, Costa Rica and Chile. There are also numerous records housed in museums. This species is known to be common, particularly along the northern part of its range but this is likely a sampling bias as this part of the distribution range has been heavily surveyed. Records are unreported along the western coast of South America.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found on the continental slopes at depths from 700-1,860 m (Wisner and McMillan 1995). The syntypes were collected in the Gulf of Panama at 1,334 m depth in water of 3.6°C on rocky bottom (Garman 1899). The sex ratio in the material analyzed by Wisner and McMillan (1995) was equal off southern California (n=220) but unequal near the mouth of the Gulf of California (n=136), 66% females and 34% males, and Costa Rica to northern Chile (n=54), 59% female to 41% male; no hermaphroditism was found in 320 specimens examined.

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 but it is exposed to deep-sea bottom trawling throughout its distribution range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Marine Protected Areas in Southern California, Gulf of California and along the coast of Central America protect only very small parts of the species' range (<10%). More research needed on species' biology, population size and impact of deep-sea fishery.

Citation: Mincarone, M.M. 2013. Myxine circifrons. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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