150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

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150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We solicited nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

Fish nominations are now closed.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


Catchy TitleNo spine, no jaw, no problem
Common Name of FishAtlantic hagfish
Scientific Name of FishMyxine glutinosa
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The Atlantic hagfish is noteworthy for several reasons. This eel-shaped denizen of the deep is not commonly encountered. Nevertheless, it holds an interesting place among the most primitive of fishes. Atlantic hagfish have no vertebral column. As you can imagine, with no proper spine, this fish is incredibly flexible. In fact, hagfish are known to tie themselves in a knot for reasons including pulling on food, escaping a predator, or cleaning mucus from their body. The Atlantic hagfish is referred to as a slime-eel because of its ability to quickly exude large amounts of mucus. If a predator attempts to eat a hagfish, it fills the predator's mouth and even gills with slime, causing the predator to let go. Hagfish are also known for not having a jaw. Instead, hagfish have a pair of opposed toothed structures that move side to side allowing the hagfish to rip off pieces of flesh from its food. So, while the hagfish has no spine or jaw, it has no problem getting things done.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://nature.ca/notebooks/english/atlantichagfish.htm;
Your NameSteve Lochmann