Hagfish embryos!

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hagfish_egg.jpg

I've been looking forward to seeing these little jewels in print since I saw Kuratani talk about them at the SICB meetings in January. Hagfish are wonderfully slimy jawless chordates that have been difficult to raise in the lab—although if you poke a whale corpse rotting in the cold deeps you'll find them swarming everywhere. The Kuratani lab has managed to keep animals of the species Eptatretus burgeri alive and healthy in a lab aquarium maintained at cold temperatures (16°C), and has even had success in breeding them. That object to the right is a single hagfish egg, brown and leathery-shelled and surprisingly big—it's an inch and a half long!

They collected 92 eggs, and then another limitation emerged: it took 5-7 months for embryos to develop in a small number of the eggs. Hagfish aren't going to be your typical fast-developing model system, I'm afraid, but they are extraordinarily cool animals, and it's good to see work beginning on them.



Continue reading "Hagfish embryos!" (on Pharyngula)

4 Comments

if I am not mistaken when you buy fine leather goods made of “eelskin” it is actually hagfish that this comes from. I have seen hagfish on display only at the aquarium in Vancouver, so they’re uncommon to see in captivity under any circumstance. The pro sez check ‘em out.

pfd:

How’d you get past all the No Hagfish In Captivity protesters???

It’s Canada, nothing but backbacon eating toque wearing moosehead drinking bilingual socialized medicine loving incisor missing defensemen.

boring

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