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April 25, 2007 10:52 AM   Subscribe

The hagfish (YouTube) is also known as the slime eel. It can also tie itself in a knot. Designer eel skin.
posted by nickyskye (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
they're cute. i could totally see myself keeping one as a pet and letting its rasps file away at my flesh all day long.
posted by shmegegge at 10:58 AM on April 25, 2007


A completely FPP-worthy link from your "Designer eel skin" link: USB Humping Dogs.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 11:12 AM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


(Terminal Verbosity: don't even think about it)
posted by one_bean at 11:14 AM on April 25, 2007


The hagfish is also known as the slime eel.

What? Another post about Ann Coulter?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:18 AM on April 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Previously.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:19 AM on April 25, 2007


That D&G/Motorola link has a "submit to metafilter" link at the bottom of the post. Heh. Right after the fark button.
posted by phaedon at 11:23 AM on April 25, 2007




Hagfish slime as an egg substitute? Dear God!
(retreats to corner and begins slowly rocking) no no no no.....
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2007


that's a face only a mother could love.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:13 PM on April 25, 2007


Tasty!
posted by taosbat at 12:16 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Boy some creatures really get the short end of the naming stick.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:55 PM on April 25, 2007


Those things are so gross. They can turn a five gallon bucket of water into ten or twenty gallons of slime. I have seen it happen. If you're out fishing and happen to hook a hagfish, you'd best get the bailer out and turn on the pumps because it'll get very messy in the bottom of your whaler.
posted by OldReliable at 1:21 PM on April 25, 2007


IFOWONSEO
posted by spicynuts at 1:24 PM on April 25, 2007


Hey, egg substitute? It beats using hagfish slime as a lubricant. Mmm.
posted by adipocere at 1:44 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


What's the deal? Is the "turn into slime" a fear mechanism, or is it going on all the time?

I am a walrus hagfish
posted by phaedon at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2007


Boy some creatures really get the short end of the naming stick.

At least the slimehead and Patagonian Toothfish have been repositioned for American menus.

Slime eel => Tropical Slenderfish? Macadamia-crusted with mango-cucumber salsa?
posted by kurumi at 2:23 PM on April 25, 2007


Phaedon> one theory I've heard from a marine biologist is that the hagfish is a messy eater, not having a proper jaw (and favouring fragile, decaying food), so when it eats it stirs a lot of (drifting) scraps and odour into the water, which could attract predators.

So it surrounds itself and it's meal in slime, which catches the scraps and keeps the predators from following the trail of crumbs and odour back to the hagfish.

Sort of a cloak of insmellibility

People aren't kidding about the amount of slime - handling a hagfish out of the water will get a sticky coating on your hands - when you move to wash them, the coating quickly balloons into a huge bolus of slime, larger than both your fists. >squick!<
posted by Crosius at 3:02 PM on April 25, 2007


insmellibility! ha!

If I remember correctly there is a scene in the tin drum where they are fishing for eels by throwing a horse's head on a rope in the ocean. They leave the head in the water long enough for the eels to get inside and then pull it out by the rope. It totally gave me the creeps. I had forgotten about that until I read this post.

Thanks for renewing my nightmares.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2007


I first read about these in Ken Kesey's Sailor Song. I thought he had made them up, their whole concept was too... science fictiony...
posted by deliquescent at 3:59 PM on April 25, 2007


nickyskye, your interests are wide and unpredictable!

re: your hagfish link, I like the drone music that the sliming guy had going in the background there in his lab. Made me think more people should do that with their youtube posts. It set the perfect mood, somehow, for, er, sliming.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2007


Now if there was a haggisfish.... and it slimed. WHOAH
posted by Eekacat at 4:52 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


taosbat, a fun site you linked, the museum of awful food. It needs plumping up but sounds like a good idea.

There's got to be some useful thing that might be done with the slime, like for helping burn victims because of the protein strands in it. Or warfare, imagine glopping the enemy.

The thing is, I adore eating unagi (eel) at sushi places and when I spoke about loving eel to a fisherman friend of mine he described how disgustingly slimy eels are. Oh no! So I googled it and found the video which gave me serious heebie jeebies. To my relief it turns out in the Japanese-English Ocean Dictionary that the yummy unagi is the non-slimy freshwater eel and mekura-unagi, the hagfish, is a marine eel. phew.
posted by nickyskye at 5:03 PM on April 25, 2007


Boy some creatures really get the short end of the naming stick.

You mean like this or this? They sure do.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2007


"Slippery Dick", FelliniBlank, you're naughty.
posted by nickyskye at 5:54 PM on April 25, 2007


Hi, nickyskye, lol...a fun site [I] linked...thank you; and, "After you, my dear alphonse."
In Korea, almost 5 million pounds of hagfish meat are consumed each year.

Overfishing in Asia has decimated their local hagfish stocks, so the Asian hagfish fishery has turned its eyes towards North America, where these "slime eels" are considered a worthless bycatch...FPP: link 3; also tie.
I've seen both 'freshwater' and 'saltwater' eel in sushi places around the Rockies. I have no clue what that might mean re: hagfish.

Like most modern consumers, I don't much care what food is like in the raw as long as it's all yummy when I get to it in my local establishment.
posted by taosbat at 6:46 PM on April 25, 2007


I forgot the useful thing that might be done with the slime: there must be something...but...they're tasty...so, can't we just eat 'em all up, slime, too...clean our plates?
posted by taosbat at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2007


: The thing is, I adore eating unagi (eel) at sushi places and when I spoke about loving eel to a fisherman friend of mine he described how disgustingly slimy eels are. Oh no! So I googled it and found the video which gave me serious heebie jeebies. To my relief it turns out in the Japanese-English Ocean Dictionary that the yummy unagi is the non-slimy freshwater eel and mekura-unagi, the hagfish, is a marine eel. phew.

I lived in South Korea at an impressionable age and happened to witness an eel being prepared for consumption. It was in an open bazaar and the eeler had quite a crowd. At his feet sat a ten gallon bucket containing about a dozen live eels. He pulled out one, placed it on the chopping block and stuck an ice pick through its body, into the wood. The eel squirmed fruitlessly, unable to move with the steel pinning it down as the man proceeded to delicately slice off the skin with a paring knife. He skinned the eel to the left of the ice pick, then the right. He pulled the pick out, the eel not putting up much of a fight any more but still moving a bit, and sliced off the last remaining bit of skin where the pick had been. My memory is a little hazy after that, but I'm almost certain I threw up at this point.

(I don't know if this is how they all do/did it, but it's what I saw and is why I won't eat eel to this day.)
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:02 PM on April 25, 2007


your interests are wide and unpredictable

flapjax, life is just so interesting. All of it...or almost all. Don't you find that? It's one of the fun things about MetaFilter, it's interests are also wide and unpredictable. And in the YouTube video in the lab, there was this entertaining repressed Grinch smile going on as he pulled the glop out of the beaker. I liked that bit, his mischief. It reminded me of MetaFilter too.

taosbat, you're so right about the food in the end is what matters. But some things just squick me and eating boogers-by-the-bucket fish is just up there in the unappetising factor. And I *really* love unagi eel.

Terminal Verbosity. aw, so sorry you had to endure seeing such outright sadism. How awful. It's despicable when people abuse animals whose meat they intend to eat. I can't eat lobster for that reason.

I'm glad you're an empathic person.
posted by nickyskye at 7:37 PM on April 25, 2007


That's what my last trip to the ENT guy was like. Allergy season was in full swing.
posted by aliasless at 7:53 PM on April 25, 2007


Mmmmkay, this is weird. I just a couple days ago heard "hagfish" for the first time ever, as I was idling through Wikipedia and learning about scientific classifications of fish (pursing my curiousity after a news report about Atlanta's whale shark having possibly been essentially poisoned by pest control chemicals in the pool).

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chordata :

The phylum Chordata is broken down into three subphyla: Urochordata, Cephalochordata, and Vertebrata. Urochordate larvae have a notochord and a nerve cord but they are lost in adulthood. Cephalochordates have a notochord and a nerve cord but no vertebrae. In all vertebrates except for Hagfish, the dorsal hollow nerve cord has been surrounded with cartilaginous or bony vertebrae and the notochord generally reduced.

posted by intermod at 9:19 PM on April 25, 2007


Hmmm.. Dreamcatcher much?
posted by prototype_octavius at 10:45 PM on April 25, 2007


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