Will no one think of the eels?

Tragic. A truck full of hagfish overturned in Oregon, and all anyone is wondering about is the car repair and the dry-cleaning bills. What about the poor wonderful dead beasties?

The best succinct summary of the wondrous hagfish is at Southern Fried Science.


  1. says

    You dare lump hagfish into the eel category? Bad PZ. Myxiniformes are not Anguilliformes. The writers of A Cure For Wellness wish they were, but…

  2. cartomancer says

    Are you sure it was hagfish and that’s not just Steve Bannon’s car in its usual state?

  3. Brian English says

    I’m a bit confused by this, but that could be because I’m a dullard who’s imbibed.

    Hagfish are eel-like jawless fishes. They are primitive, lacking a vertebral column.

    Needs more explanation. All conservatives lack a backbone, but aren’t considered primitive. e.g. POTUS. But who cares about the ‘vertabrality’ of an organism? After all, evolution isn’t about the tools, just the results. Are they primitive chordates? In what sense? Other Chordates developed jaws and backbones or something after and so? Perhaps they’re just early chordates that struck on a succesful plan?

    What about the poor wonderful dead beasties?
    So why is it all over my car?
    The hagfish were likely alarmed by the presence of you vehicle. This was a stress reaction.

    I thought they were dead?

  4. Brian English says

    Cursed internet. I checked my blockquotes several times and there was a hierarchy of matched tags. Why is ‘I thought they were dead?’ in quotes. It wasn’t in quotes when I checked it. and the subquote of ‘So why…was a stress reaction was in internal blockquotes. HTML fail.

  5. cartomancer says

    That reminds me – you’re a mad scientist with Bond Villain tendencies and a fondness for marine wildlife. Perhaps you could opine on whether it would be possible to kill a man by throwing him into a pool of lampreys? Are they that dangerous? Or, like Piranha fish, would they tend to just ignore the victim?

    I ask because there is an old Roman story about a rich but vicious waste of space called Publius Vedius Pollio, who was alleged to have thrown slaves who displeased him into the lamprey pool in his garden. Until the Emperor Augustus made him stop after an unpleasant incident at dinner with a clumsy slave and a crystal goblet. It sounds just a little too grand guignol to be true.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Craven’s car then collided into a white Ford Focus driven by two women, Kristine Torp and Melissa Waage, from Norway.

    Two women driving at the same time? I don’t think that’s legal, even in Oregon.

  7. Siobhan says

    @8 Reginald Selkirk

    Seconding the “wtf” regarding the weird editorial decisions by journalists.

  8. Pierre Le Fou says

    I was driving my hovercraft near that truck when it overturned. Now my hovercraft is full of eels.

  9. davidnangle says

    Nightmare fuel, for the people in the involved cars. (I’ll assume none of the passengers were marine biologists or Koreans. Or mud wrestlers. Or bait shop owners. Or B-movie special effects artists.)

  10. whheydt says

    IIRC, it was John Robinson that wrote a filk song about a conversation between a lamprey and a hagfish. The description at the beginning was that the lamprey sucks the guts out of its living prey, while the hagfish waits until the prey is dead to suck the guts out.

  11. microraptor says

    cartomancer @6: The most likely cause of death for a man who was thrown into a tank full of lampreys would be drowning. Lampreys can’t easily hang onto a human who’s actively trying to dislodge them: the only confirmed cases of human fatalities caused by lampreys that I’ve ever heard of involved people who got food poisoning from eating improperly prepared lamprey.

  12. microraptor says

    I realized that the show River Monsters had officially run out of genuinely threatening fish to study when it tried to portray sea lampreys as being a threat to humans on par with bull sharks.

  13. davidc1 says

    Slime,slime ,slime ,enough with the slime .
    Cartomancer @6 an English King Henry the 1st is supposed to have died after eating a surfeit of Lampreys .

  14. cartomancer says

    Actually it could have been Moray eels instead of lampreys. The word can mean either.

  15. jrkrideau says

    @ 4 Brian English
    All conservatives lack a backbone, but aren’t considered primitive
    They are not? Obviously different from our Conservatives (note upper case C).

  16. blf says

    Conservatives (with and often without the upper C) have a well-developed, over-developed even, backbone, completely rigid, unbending, and moneymagnetic; that is, it invariably points the {C,c}onservative in the direction of the largest bribes.