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Bad Cook Recipes: A Hagfish Monster For Dinner

Updated on September 22, 2008

Rawg! I am the HAGFISH!

Full of protein, and inordinately tasty when fried with just a hint of lemon, the hagfish is a prehistoric creature terribly dangerous to its prey, and armed with an arsenal of strange tricks which have ensured its survival for over 5000 million years.

Yes, you read that right, five thousand million years is a fairly roughly accurate estimation of how long the hagfish has been swimming the globe. Hagfish predate modern humans by , hmmm, in practical terms, about five thousand million years. Modern man has only been on the planet for around 100,000 years, a blink of an eye in comparison to an old hand like the hagfish.

Of course at first glance, you might not think a hagfish actually is a fish at all as they don't have scales, and they don't have jaws. Hagfish are of the class Myxini, and strangely enough, have a skull, but no spinal column. Though perhaps ugly, these deep water dwelling fish are a real world connection with the prehistoric days of our planet, and are 'so in right now' as a palatable delicacy.

Free fun hagfish facts follow:

The Slime O' The Hagfish

Hagfish produce a nasty slime from their bodies which helps them escape predators. When they feel themselves caught, they excrete the slime which reacts with the surrounding water to form a foul tasting sticky gel. Once the predator releases them, they clean themselves by actually looping their bodes into a knot and running it from the top of their body to the bottom, cleaning off the slime as it goes. This ingenious protection mechanism is believed to be unique to the noble hagfish.

Sex With Hagfish

That's not the only unique thing about hagfish. Some species of hagfish are also members of a unique group of animals which can change their gender if it is needed for procreation. If hagfish communities begin to die out, some of the males will actually become female. Other species are completely hermaphroditic, able to act as males or females.

Having A Hagfish To Dinner

Last but not least we come to the strange eating habits of the hag fish. Instead of chomping down on a tasty morsel of prey, the hagfish instead enters through the mouth, nose or anus and consumes it alive or dead from the inside out. (Much like a bad boyfriend or girlfriend.)

Hagfish are now on the menu at many experimental North American restaurants, or alternatively you can toddle off to your local fishmonger and possibly pick one of these ancient monsters up for your own dinner table.


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 9 years ago

      You're right of course, I was thinking of dog years...

    • profile image

      Lute 9 years ago

      I think the currect time Hagfish have been around, is 500 million years, not 5000 million years. 5000 million years ago (i.e. 5 billion years ago) the sun and solar system was still sort of condensing from a nebular of a stellar nursery.