Shark vs Hagfish vs Grouper | Video
The good folks at NZ Chapman University have published new research showing how hagfishes survive an initial attack from predators like sharks (see video) before they release large volumes of slime to defend themselves. Because the slime is released after they are attacked, this defense strategy is only effective if they survive the initial bite. Results show that hagfish skin is not puncture resistant; it is both unattached and flaccid, which helps avoid internal damage from penetrating teeth.
What on Earth is a Hagfish?
Hagfishes are an ancient group of eel-like animals found at the bottom of the ocean. Video footage of hagfishes being attacked, lab studies of how their defensive slime functions, and the fact hagfishes are rarely found in the stomachs of other fish, suggest that fish predators are rarely successful when they attempt to eat a hagfish.
The three-minute video below (watch on an empty stomach) shows how hagfishes use slime as their defense mechanism against sharks, snappers and groupers. Ewwwwwwww.
We have never seen this at Guadalupe Island with our Great White Sharks cage diving but never say never!