Sexually Induced Myxine Eggs

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Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Jessica Dunning UNH - Department of Biological Sciences
Jessica Lyman UNH - Department of Biological Sciences
David Rostetter UNH - Department of Biological Sciences
Selina Skelton Cloutier UNH - Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisors:

Stacia Sower UNH - Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences
Karen Reed University of New Hampshire

The objective of this study was to obtain fertilized hagfish embryos. There have been no fertilized hagfish embryos collected for study since 1889. Hagfish are one of only two living representatives of the class Agnathans, the oldest lineage of vertebrates. Obtaining fertilized hagfish eggs will be essential in furthering our understanding of the developmental processes and phylogeny of hagfish during vertebrate evolution. In an attempt to obtain fertilized hagfish eggs, the Atlantic hagfish, Myxine glutinosa, was monitored under two different environmental conditions. In the first experiment, 25 hagfish were maintained in a coldroom aquarium for five months. The coldroom environment was controlled at 4 to 5 C in darkness, with the exception of one month with a varying photo period. In the second experiment, the hagfish were placed in closed, modified lobster traps and maintained on lobster lines at ocean depths of 300-600 meters. While neither experiment produced fertilized hagfish embryos, the initial attempts and collaborations at securing hagfish embryos do suggest a viable method for future success.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • Sexually Induced "Myxine" Eggs (SLIME) (1999). Jessica Dunning, Jessica Lyman, David Rostetter and Selina Skelton Cloutier. Advisors: Karen Reed and Stacia Sower.