On the third Wednesday in October, Hagfish Day brings awareness to the evolved but slimy hagfish.
Hagfish are considered to be the ugliest of species. The idea behind this observance is to encourage everyone to look beyond the exterior of the Hagfish and appreciate how highly evolved they are. Not unlike a book cover, the day points out the benefits of looking deeper into the subject.
The hagfish offers many benefits to the ecosystem. Despite its unappealing exterior, it scavenges the ocean floor, cleaning up the debris of dead marine animals. The slime they produce protects them from predators. While it’s thinner than human hair, the slime is stronger than nylon. Researchers are seeking the potential commercial, medical and environmental uses of slime. The military also sees its potential. For example, Navy researchers developed a synthetic hagfish slime using E.coli bacteria. U.S. Biochemist Dr. Josh Kogot and materials engineer Dr. Ryan Kincer hope the strong synthetic slime can provide added protection for naval vessels.
In some cultures, this eel is even considered a delicacy. Though the meat is mild, it can have a bitter aftertaste.
HOW TO OBSERVE #HagfishDay
Learn more about the hagfish and its benefits. Visit an aquarium near you or read up on this fascinating creature. Use #HagfishDay to post on social media. And, if you have images of some you have caught, why not show them to the world?
NATIONAL HAGFISH DAY HISTORY
WhaleTimes founded Hagfish Day in 2009 to ‘beauty of ugly’ and raise awareness of the importance of all animals – not just the pretty ones.
Q. What do hagfish eat?
A. These scavengers of the sea most often eat dead and dying animals on the ocean floor. Their process adds to the gross factor, too. Despite being jawless, they often burrow into a carcass and eat it from the inside out. However, they are also known to hunt.
Q. How big do hagfish get?
A. With 76 species of hagfish in the world, the smallest hagfish grows to about 18 cm and the largest to 127 cm.
Q. Where do the hagfish live?
A. Hagfish populate the cold waters of all the world’s oceans.
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