Longfin Hagfish, Eptatretus longipinnis Strahan 1975

Other Names: Hagfish

Longfin Hagfish, Eptatretus longipinnis. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


Eptatretus longipinnis differs from all other Australian hagfishes in having the following combination of characters: six pairs of gill pouches; dentition – three-cusp multicusp on the anterior row and two-cusp multicusp on the posterior rows of cusps; total cusps 32-34; prebranchial pores 25-29; total pores 97-104; no nasal-sinus papillae; ventral finfold beginning anterior to the first pair of gill apertures.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Eptatretus longipinnis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3417

Longfin Hagfish, Eptatretus longipinnis Strahan 1975

More Info


Off Robe to off Port McDonnell, South Australia.


To a total length of 63 cm.


Colour in preservative: body, gill apertures and slime pores dark brown, ventral area of the prebranchial region paler; tip of barbels and mouth whitish; ventral finfold whitish; caudal finfold and cloaca with narrow white margin.


Hagfishes scavenge on dead or dying marine life, feeding mostly on fishes and invertebrates, but also on marine mammals that have sunk to the ocean floor. They feed by rasping flesh with their horny teeth, often going completely inside sunken carcasses and feeding from the inside out.


Although not targeted in fisheries, this species is part of the discarded bycatch in the gillnet, hook and trap fishery, and has occasionally been recorded as bycatch in rock lobster pots.

Similar Species

Eptatretus longipinnis is distinguished from all other species in the genus Eptatretus by having the ventral finfold beginning in front of the first pair of gill openings (within the anterior 27–28% total length).

Species Citation

Eptatretus longipinnis Strahan 1975, Aust. Zool. 18(3):137, Figs. 1, 2a. Type locality: Southeastern Indian Ocean off Robe, South Australia, 37°10'S, 149°43'E, depth 40 metres.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Longfin Hagfish, Eptatretus longipinnis Strahan 1975


Fernholm, B. 1998. Hagfish systematics. p. 33-44. In: J.M. Jørgensen, J.P. Lomholt, R.E. Weber & H. Malte (eds). The biology of hagfishes. Chapman & Hall, London. 578 pp.

Gomon, M.F. & Mincarone, M.M. 2008. Family Myxinidae Hagfishes, pp. 26-27. In: M.F. Gomon, D.J. Bray and R.H. Kuiter (eds). Fishes of Australia’s southern coast. New Holland Press & Museum, Victoria, Australia.

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Families Petromyzontidae, Myxinidae, Hexanchidae, Heterodontidae. pp. 82-90 figs 17-26 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Martini, F.H. 1998. The ecology of hagfishes. p. 57-77. In: J.M. Jørgensen, J.P. Lomholt, R.E. Weber & H. Malte. The biology of hagfishes. Chapman & Hall, London. 578 pp.

Mincarone, M.M. 2013. Eptatretus longipinnis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 12 January 2015.

Mincarone, M.M. & Fernholm, B. 2010. Review of the Australian hagfishes with description of two new species of Eptatretus (Myxinidae). Journal of Fish Biology 77: 779-801.

Patzner, R.A. 1998. Gonads and reproduction in hagfishes, pp. 378-395. In: J.M. Jørgensen, J.P. Lomholt, R.E. Weber, & H. Malte (eds). The biology of hagfishes. Chapman & Hall, London.

Strahan, R. 1975. Eptatretus longipinnis, n. sp., a new hagfish (family Eptatretidae) from South Australia, with a key to the 5-7 gilled Eptatretidae. The Australian Zoologist 18(3): 137-148. PDF at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37004001

Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:14-40 metres

Habitat:Soft bottom

Max Size:63 cm TL


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