Seasonal concentrations of reproductive steroids in the gonads of the Atlantic hagfish, Myxine glutinosa

Academic Article


  • Changes in gonadal morphology, gonadal estradiol, and progesterone were examined in Atlantic hagfish, Myxine glutinosa, during a period of 17 months, beginning in April, 2001. Atlantic hagfish were captured from the ocean on a monthly basis. A total of 60 hagfish were divided into three different size classes of twenty hagfish each (small 20-35 cm, medium 35-45 cm, large 45-55+cm) and transported to the University of New Hampshire for sampling. Overall, in the medium and large size hagfish, estradiol and progesterone had significantly elevated peaks in January, 2001. There were significant increases in estradiol concentrations in January, with relatively low fluctuations in levels for the rest of the sampling period. Progesterone concentrations increased significantly in January, 2002, in medium and large hagfish, and remained elevated until June and April, 2002, for the two size classes respectively. The majority of hagfish sampled were females or hermaphrodites; few true males were identified in any of the samples. The number of females with large eggs increased following the estradiol peak in January and hermaphrodites with mature sperm were identified in the July, 2002, sample. These data represent the first evidence for a seasonal reproductive cycle in M. glutinosa and only the second seasonal reproductive cycle identified in any hagfish species. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Powell ML; Kavanaugh SI; Sower SA
  • Start Page

  • 352
  • End Page

  • 360
  • Volume

  • 301
  • Issue

  • 4