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On the Wild Side: Strange news from the World of Wildlife!


Atlantic Hagfish
credit: Charles Keith

Blind Slimer

Never mind the names. Or the repulsive habits. Concentrate instead on the positive qualities of the creature known variously as the hagfish and the slime eel.

A blind wormlike fish that can measure up to 32 inches long, the hagfish helps keep the ocean clean. It accomplishes this feat by devouring dead or dying fish. And how does it find these fish without being able to see? It relies on its sense of smell. Then it enters the fish through an orifice such as the mouth, or it bores a hole into the fish with its teeth, and proceeds to consume the fish from the inside out. Eventually only the bones remain.

As for the slime, the hagfish exudes a transparent ooze when it's stressed.

Click here to learn more about the hagfish.

 

 

 

 

 

2007 eNature.com