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Agnatha - Lamprey, Hagfish

fish

Classification

 Kingdom: Animalia 
 Phylum: Chordata
 Super Class: Agnatha

Pacific LampreyAgnatha are jawless fish. Lampreys and hagfish are in this class. Members of the agnatha class are probably the earliest vertebrates. Scientists have found fossils of agnathan species from the late Cambrian Period that occurred 500 million years ago.

Members of this class of fish don't have paired fins or a stomach. Adults and larvae have a notochord. A notochord is a flexible rod-like cord of cells that provides the main support for the body of an organism during its embryonic stage. A notochord is found in all chordates.

Most agnathans have a skeleton made of cartilage and seven or more paired gill pockets. They have a light sensitive pineal eye. A pineal eye is a third eye in front of the pineal gland. Fertilization of eggs takes place outside the body.

Sea LampreyThe lamprey looks like an eel, but it has a jawless sucking mouth that it attaches to a fish. It is a parasite and sucks tissue and fluids out of the fish it is attached to. The lamprey's mouth has a ring of cartilage that supports it and rows of horny teeth that it uses to latch on to a fish.

Lampreys are found in temperate rivers and coastal seas and can range in size from 5 to 40 inches. Lampreys begin their lives as freshwater larvae. In the larval stage, lamprey usually are found on muddy river and lake bottoms where they filter feed on microorganisms.

The larval stage can last as long as seven years! At the end of the larval state, the lamprey changes into an eel-like creature that swims and usually attaches itself to a fish. There are around 50 living species of lampreys.

HagfishThe hagfish is also know as the slime fish. It is eel-like and pinkish in color. It has glands along its sides that produce a thick, sticky slime that it uses as a defense mechanism. The hagfish can also twist its body into knots! It may do this to clean off slime or escape predators. The hagfish may also sneeze to clear its nostrils of slime.

The hagfish is almost completely blind, but it has a good sense of touch and smell. It has a ring of tentacles around its mouth that it uses to feel for food. It has a tongue-like projection that comes out of its jawless mouth. At the end of the projection are tooth-like rasps that close when the "tongue" is pulled back into the hagfish's mouth.

The hagfish eats marine worms and other invertebrates. It has a very low metabolism and can go for as long as seven months without eating. Newly hatched hagfish are miniature copies of the adult hagfish. The hagfish is found in cold ocean waters in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It is found on muddy sea floors and may live in very large groups of up to 15,000 individuals. There are about 60 species of hagfish.

galleryAgnatha Photo Gallery

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct Not Enough DataNot Enough Data
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist.

U.S. Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Endangered in US Endangered in US Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife. Click on U.S. status icon to go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife species profile.
  New Hampshire Status Key
Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Breeds in NH Breeds in NH (birds)
Status taken from NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH More Info Click for More Info picture Click for Image
atlantic Ocean Atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Mediterranian Mediterranean/Black Sea pacific ocean Pacific Ocean

  New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

American Brook Lamprey - Lampetra appendix Least Concern North America New Hampshire Species More Info
Sea Lamprey-Petromyzon marinus Least Concern Africa Europe North America New Hampshire Species image More Info

  Kern Brook Lamprey - Lampetra hubbsi Vulnerable North America
Klamath Lamprey - Lampetra similis Near Threatened North America
Lake Lamprey - Lampetra macrostoma Not Enough Data North America
Least Brook Lamprey - Lampetra aepyptera Least Concern North America
Mexican Lamprey - Lampetra spadicea Critically Endangered North America
Miller Lake Lamprey - Entosphenus minimus Vulnerable North America
Mountain Brook Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon greeleyi Least Concern North America
Northern Brook Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon fossor Least Concern North America More Info
Ohio Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon bdellium Least Concern North America
Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii Not Enough Data North America pacific ocean image More Info
Pacific Lamprey - Entosphenus tridentatus North America image More Info
Patagonian Hagfish - Myxine affinis Least Concern North America atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Pit-Klamath Brook Lamprey - Lampetra lethophaga Least Concern North America
Shorthead Hagfish - Eptatretus mcconnaugheyi Not Enough Data North America pacific ocean
Silver Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon unicuspis Least Concern North America
Southern Brook Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon gagei Least Concern North America More Info
Western Brook Lamprey - Lampetra richardsoni Least Concern North America

North/Central American Species

 
Alaskan Brook Lamprey - Lampetra alaskensis Not Enough Data North America
Arctic Lamprey - Lethenteron japonicum Least Concern North America
Atlantic Hagfish - Myxine glutinosa Least Concern Africa Europe North America atlantic Ocean Mediterranian More Info
Black Hagfish - Eptatretus deani Not Enough Data North America pacific ocean
Caribbean Hagfish - Myxine mcmillanae Least Concern North America atlantic Ocean
Chestnut Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon castaneus Least Concern North America
Chilean Hagfish - Eptatretus polytrema Not Enough Data North America
Cortez Hagfish - Eptatretus sinus Least Concern North America pacific ocean
Guadalupe Hagfish - Eptatretus fritzi Least Concern North America pacific ocean
Goose Lake Lamprey - Lampetra tridentata North America
Gulf Hagfish - Paramyxine springeri Least Concern North America atlantic Ocean
Inshore Hagfish - Eptatretus burgeri Near Threatened Asia North America pacific ocean
 

Selected Species Around the World


Broadgilled Hagfish - Eptatretus cirrhatus Least Concern Australia pacific ocean
Brook Lamprey - Lampetra planeri Least Concern Europe image More Info
Brown Hagfish - Paramyxine atami Not Enough Data North America
Cape Hagfish - Myxine capensis Least Concern Africa atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean
Carpathian Lamprey - Eudontomyzon danfordi Least Concern Asia Europe
Dwarf Hagfish- Myxine pequenoi Not Enough Data pacific ocean
Eightgilled Hagfish - Eptatretus octatrema Critically Endangered Africa atlantic Ocean
Fivegill Hagfish - Eptatretus profundus Least Concern Africa atlantic Ocean
Goliath Hagfish - Eptatretus goliath Not Enough Data Australia pacific ocean
Greek Brook Lamprey - Eudontomyzon hellenicus Critically Endangered Europe
  Lombardy Brook Lamprey - Lampetra zanandreai Least Concern Europe
Longfin Hagfish - Eptatretus longipinnis Vulnerable Australia Indian Ocean
Lulua River Lamprey - Aplocheilichthys katangae Least Concern Africa
Non-parasitic Lamprey - Mordacia praecox Vulnerable Australia
River Lamprey - Lampetra fluviatilis Least Concern Asia Europe image More Info
Sixgill Hagfish - Eptatretus hexatrema Least Concern Africa atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean image
Southern Hagfish - Myxine australis Least Concern atlantic Ocean pacific ocean
Strickrott's Hagfish - Eptatretus strickrotti Least Concern pacific ocean
Ukranian Brook Lamprey - Eudontomyzon mariae Least Concern Asia Europe image
Vladykov's Lamprey - Eudontomyzon vladykovi Least Concern Europe
White-headed Hagfish - Myxine ios Least Concern Europe atlantic Ocean

Additional Information

Key: profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio New Hampshire Species NH Species

American Brook Lamprey - Lampetra appendix profile Photos Least Concern North America New Hampshire Species
The American brook lamprey is found in the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada.
Source:US Geological Survey Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Atlantic Hagfish - Myxine glutinosa profile Photos Least Concern Africa Europe North America atlantic Ocean Mediterranian
The Atlantic hagfish is found on both sides of the north Atlantic Ocean.
Source: Sea and Sky Intended Audience: Student Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Atlantic Hagfish - Myxine glutinosa profile Photos Least Concern Africa Europe North America atlantic Ocean Mediterranian
The Atlantic hagfish preys on shrimp, worms, and small crabs
Source: NOAA Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Brook Lamprey - Lampetra planeri profile Photos Least Concern Europe
The brook lamprey is found in small brooks, streams, lakes, and rivers across Europe.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Northern Brook Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon fossor profile Least Concern North America
Northern brook lamprey are found in many areas of the midwestern and northeastern United States.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Southern Brook Lamprey - Ichthyomyzon gagei profile Least Concern North America
Southern brook lampreys are found in the Mississippi River basin, the Tennessee River drainage, and Gulf of Mexico drainages.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

River Lamprey - Lampetra fluviatilis profile Photos Video Least Concern Asia Europe
The river lamprey is found in western Europe from Sweden and Finland south to France and east to Russia.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Sea Lamprey - Petromyzon marinus profile Photos Video Least Concern Africa Europe North America New Hampshire Species
The sea lamprey is found on both sides of the North Atlantic.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Sea Lamprey - Petromyzon marinus profile Photos Least Concern Africa Europe North America New Hampshire Species
In North American the sea lamprey is found on the east coast of United States and Canada.
Source: EEK - Environmental Education for Kids Intended Audience: Students Reading Level: Elementary School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii profile Photos North America pacific ocean
The Pacific hagfish is found on muddy bottoms in cold ocean waters along the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, Canada south to Baja California, Mexico.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii profile Photos North America pacific ocean
The Pacific hagfish is also known as the slime eel.
Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii profile Photos North America pacific ocean
The hagfish can tie itself into a knot.
Source: Aquarium of the Pacific Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii profile Photos North America pacific ocean
Hagfish eat worms and invertebrates, but they also enter both dying and dead fish and eat them from the inside out.
Source: Oregon Coast Aquarium Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Hagfish - Eptatretus stoutii profile Photos North America pacific ocean
Hagfish have been around, mostly unchanged, since the Paleozoic era 450 million years ago.
Source: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Pacific Lamprey - Entosphenus tridentatus profile Photos Video North America
The Pacific lamprey is born in fresh water, matures in the ocean, and returns to fresh water to reproduce. It dies after reproduction.
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes