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The Hagfish

Sheldon reader Ryan chimes in with this fun fact regarding the 2/28 strip:

Here’s another example of Marine Marketing in Action: most “eelskin” wallets are actually made from a species that is more commonly known as hagfish. It secretes a mucus-like substance as a defensive mechanism when agitated, perhaps one of the more disgusting forms of Darwinism.

“They are long, vermiform and can exude copious quantities of a sticky slime or mucus (from which the typical species Myxine glutinosa was named). When captured and held by the tail, they escape by secreting the fibrous slime, which turns into a thick and sticky gel when combined with water, and then cleaning off by tying themselves in an overhand knot which works its way from the head to the tail of the animal, scraping off the slime as it goes. Some authorities conjecture that this singular behavior may assist them in extricating themselves from the jaws of predatory fish. However, the “sliming” also seems to act as a distractant to predators, and free-swimming hagfish are seen to “slime” when agitated and will later clear the mucus off by way of the same traveling-knot behavior.”

Think anyone would want to buy hagfish, slime eel, or snotfish wallets? And would Luis Vuitton make them?

On a separate note: can I just say how much I love the name “hagfish”? That’s the kind of name that you know didn’t come from a marketing team. It came from a pioneer mountainman named “Scruffy” or “Bucky”…

“See that fish, Buford? The one what with all the slime and what not? I done named it a hagfish.”