Let’s Talk About: Hagfish

source link hagfish1Some people are scared of going into water because they might bump noses with a shark, but my biggest fear in the oceans is the hagfish! How they haven’t been featured as the villain in a horror movie is beyond me, because they drum up a certain kind of irrational fear in me that I can’t put into words. It was a wise person, most likely Oprah, who said that in order to face your fear you must first understand it, which is why this week we’re looking into all things hagfish!

buy Proscalpin First rule about hagfish is that they look nothing like a fish nor a hag. In fact, hagfish have a tubular body with no fins and a paddled tail. In all honesty they look like swimming penises – there – I said it! However, these marine “dongs” can grow up to half a metre in length – so take a moment to paint that mental image. They are the only known animal that has a skull (cartilaginous), but no vertebrae. If you take a look at a present-day hagfish, you are pretty much looking at the same kind of animal that was present 300 million years ago.

http://oceanadesigns.net/contact/ Hagfish have no jaws and also very limited eyesight. Their “eye” is actually more of a light receptor and can detect differences in light intensities. The craziest and most interesting part about hagfish, though, is that they can produce copious amounts of slime!

extra_large-1464357486-2270-hagfish-slime-biomaterial-of-the-future

That’s right! When provoked, hagfish pump out up to 20 liters of slime almost instantaneously! It is believed that this is used as a defense mechanism against predators. Just imagine taking a bite of a meal and then suddenly being drowned by thick slime! Don’t get me wrong I loved Fruit Gushers as a kid, but this is a little ridiculous!

The hagfish slime could potentially have some fascinating applications in the human world. The protein threads that make up the slime are almost as strong as spider silk. They are also incredibly long, and yet can unravel almost instantly without any tangling. Researchers including Dr. Fudge, from the University of Guelph, believe that these super-fibres could help solve some real-world problems. Fudge said “What we are doing is biomimicry, imitating and getting inspiration from nature to help solve complex human problems,”.

It will still be sometime before we will be wearing the latest in hagfish fashion, but until then we can marvel these magnificent and ancient creatures. And by marvel I mean pray to all the gods that I never have to encounter one while on vacation!