Hagfish (also reference to birds)

To: "'brian fleming'" <>, "'Denise Goodfellow'" <>, <>
Subject: Hagfish (also reference to birds)
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 15:53:48 +1100
Anthea Fleming asked:
"Seriously, any creature [referring to hagfish] which can produce so much
slime to defend 
itself is worth studying. What do lampreys do in similar circumstances?"

Lampreys secrete mucous, but not in copious amounts like the slime of
hagfish. Interestingly, Wolf & Jones (1989) dissected two Great Blue Herons
which had died while attempting to ingest large lampreys. The authors
concluded that the herons choked to death (i.e. suffocated) because the
lampreys were too large to swallow. In each bird a lamprey was stuck in the
upper part of the oesophagus and had prevented the glottis from re-opening.
The authors suggested that the copious mucous secreted by the lampreys had
exacerbated the situation.      


Wolf, B. O. & Jones, S. L. (1989). Great blue heron deaths caused by
predation on Pacific lamprey. The Condor 91, 482-484.


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