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Comparative Physiology @ Guelph

Slime Collection Protocol - Myxine glutinosa

Slime Collection Protocol – Myxine glutinosa


  • 3.5 L fresh, artificial seawater, 10 degrees
  • clove oil anaesthetic stock (1 part clove oil: 9 parts anhydrous ethanol)
  • bucket of ice
  • squirt bottle of dH2O
  • 100 mL beaker of dH2O
  • narrow spatula for scooping slime
  • vial(s) of stabilization buffer on ice
  • paper towels
  • Kimwipes
  • Large dissection tray filled with ice
  • Small dissection tray lined with clean J-cloths soaked in s.w., wrung out
  • Electrical stimulator and stimulator wand
  • Plastic bag with ice for regulating water temperature


  • Add 1.75 mL of clove oil stock solution (1:9 co:ethanol) and mix
  • Transfer to white bucket for trip to Aqualab
  • Bring a spare bucket for recovery water
  • Rinse dipnet thoroughly (*very important*), collect hagfish as gently as possible
  • Transfer hagfish into anaesthesia bucket, close lid, note time
  • Collect a couple of litres of water from hagfish tank into recovery bucket
  • Bring hagfish and recovery water back to lab
  • Set up dissection trays

Make sure stimulator settings are correct: Frequency: 60 Hz, Delay: n/a, Duration: 0.8 ms, Volts: 18 V, Mode: repeat, Output: bi *NOT DC or mono*

  • Hagfish should be knocked out after 10 minutes or so in bucket
  • Once hagfish stops moving, wait another couple of min. to ensure complete anaesthesia
  • Place hagfish in chilled tray, ventral side up
  • Rinse area where slime will be collected
  • Blot dry with Kimwipes
  • Press firmly with stimulator wand at ventral midline between opposite slime glands
  • Remove wand before exudate contacts it
  • Scoop up exudate with spatula, transfer to stabilization buffer, twirl to disperse

Wipe off spatula, rinse in dH2O, wipe again to dry *This is important to ensure that stabiliation buffer does not contact the hagfish’s skin*

  • When finished with slime collection, return hagfish to recovery bucket, massage skin with gloved hand to remove any adherent slime. Return to Aqualab ASAP.