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Fish Mucus or Slime Composition, Functions, and Potential Uses

Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. She loves to study nature and write about living things.

Discus fish feed their young with mucus produced by the adult's skin.

Discus fish feed their young with mucus produced by the adult's skin.

An Important Substance

The surface of living fish is covered by mucus, or slime. Some fish have a thin coating of the substance. Others produce so much slime that it's difficult for a predator or a human to grasp them. Mucus is a very important substance for fish. It protects them in multiple ways and also has some surprising functions beyond protection.

Although the thought may sound disgusting, fish mucus could be useful for humans. It may be possible to use the protein fibres in hagfish slime to make new fabrics and materials. A recent discovery suggests that the slime produced by some coral reef fish could be used to make a new sunscreen. Bacteria living in fish slime produce chemicals that may be helpful in fighting human disease.

In this article, I discuss the general functions of fish mucus as well as the specialized ways in which discus fish, parrotfish, African lungfish, and hagfish use their slime. I also look at the ways in which the substance may help us.

Mucus in Fish and Humans

Mucus is made by many animals and by humans as well. It's useful stuff. Fish mucus is made by goblet cells in the animal's skin. Our goblet cells secrete the substance as well. In humans, the cells are found in the mucous membranes that line the respiratory, intestinal, urinary, and reproductive passages. The mucus in these locations protects the lining of the passage, provides lubrication to allow for the transport of materials, and keeps the area moist. In the respiratory tract, it also traps inhaled dirt and bacteria.

Mucus contains substances called mucins, which are a type of glycoprotein (protein with attached carbohydrate). The protein molecule in a mucin is attached to many carbohydrate molecules. Mucins rapidly form a gel when they leave goblet cells and contact water. They are responsible for both the viscous and the elastic properties of mucus.

Fish slime contains other substances besides mucin and water, including enzymes, antibodies, and salts. Fish that live around coral reefs have been found to have chemicals called mycosporine-like amino acids in their slime. These chemicals block ultraviolet light.

Mucus in different species of fish is not completely identical in composition. Researchers are finding some novel chemicals in some samples of the mucus.

Protective Slime: Preventing a Pathogen Attack

Aquarists know that their fish can become sick if their protective mucus layer is damaged. Even as a child, I was taught not to handle my goldfish because I might remove their mucus and hurt them. Since the substance has multiple functions, removing it can hurt a fish in several ways. One way is by making the animal more susceptible to infections.

The mucus of a fish provides physical protection by trapping pathogens (microorganisms that cause disease). When the old slime layer containing the pathogens is shed and replaced by a new layer, the pathogens are lost. Antibodies, antimicrobial peptides, and enzymes in the mucus actively attack pathogens.

This is another variety of discus fish. The animals have a wide range of colours and patterns but all belong to the genus Symphysodon.

This is another variety of discus fish. The animals have a wide range of colours and patterns but all belong to the genus Symphysodon.

The Importance of Osmoregulation in Fish

Fish living in both salt and fresh water have a potential problem with osmoregulation, or the maintenance of the correct water and salt concentration within their body. In science, the word "salt" refers to any ionic compound, including but not limited to sodium chloride. Salts in the body—or the ions that they become when they break down in water—are sometimes referred to as electrolytes or minerals. They are essential for life but are dangerous if they become too concentrated.

There are two trends that a fish needs to fight during osmoregulation.

  • Water molecules move from a less salty area to a more salty area.
  • Salt ions move from where they are more concentrated to where they are less concentrated.

In the ocean, too much water may leave a fish's body and too much salt may enter. In fresh water, the opposite situation may occur. Too much water may enter the fish and too many salts may leave. These processes can both be deadly. Activities in the gills and kidneys of a fish fight these tendencies, however.

Movement of water and ions in a saltwater fish; the arrows into and out of the skin are short because the scales and mucus layer reduce the transport of materials

Movement of water and ions in a saltwater fish; the arrows into and out of the skin are short because the scales and mucus layer reduce the transport of materials

Mucus and Osmoregulation in Fish

Mucus is helpful for a fish because in conjunction with the scales it partially blocks the movement of water into and out of the animal's body. This helps to maintain constant conditions inside the fish.

Other parts of the body also influence the salt and water concentration in the fish. The urine contains more or less water and salt, as necessary. In addition, the gills excrete or absorb salts, depending on a fish's needs.

Movement of water and ions in a freshwater fish; once again, the arrows into and out of the skin are short due to the presence of scales and mucus

Movement of water and ions in a freshwater fish; once again, the arrows into and out of the skin are short due to the presence of scales and mucus

In addition to its other functions, mucus reduces drag when a fish swims. It covers the scales, filling in any gaps or irregularities and reducing friction.

Discus Fish

Discus fish are a type of cichlid. The cichlid family is very large and consists of freshwater fish with a wide variety of characteristics. Some members of the family, including discus fish, have a flattened, laterally compressed body. Unlike most other fish, cichlids demonstrate some form of parental care for their young.

Discus fish are classified in the genus Symphysodon. They have a range of beautiful colours and patterns. An especially interesting feature of the animals is that the fry (young fish) feed on the skin mucus of their parents. The mucus is enriched with nutrients such as protein and amino acids to support the growing youngsters. Like mammalian milk, the mucus changes in composition as the youngsters develop and continues to fulfill their needs.

A blue discus fish, or Symphysodon aequifasciatus

A blue discus fish, or Symphysodon aequifasciatus

Fish eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae feed on the yolk in a yolk sac attached to their body. When the yolk sac has disappeared and the youngsters have begun eating food, the developing fish are known as fry. The fry stage lasts for several to many months.

Mucus Feeding in Discus Fish

Some fascinating information about the rearing of discus fish has been discovered by some British and Brazilian scientists. The scientists brought some discus fish into captivity and tried to keep their environment as natural as possible. The animals reproduced successfully, allowing the researchers to study the behaviour of the youngsters.

The scientists noted that the fry travelled to a parent as a group. They bit the side of the adult fish for up to ten minutes, feeding on the mucus. The adult then "expertly" flicked the fry towards the other parent, where they started to feed again. For two weeks, the parents continued to feed the fry in this way.

The discus fish also exhibited behaviour that resembles weaning in mammals. After two weeks of mucus feeding, the researchers noted that the parents sometimes tried to swim away from the fry, who chased them in order to feed. After three weeks, the adults successfully swam away from the fry for short periods of time and the youngsters began looking for other food. After about four weeks, the young fish were finding almost all of their food for themselves and rarely fed on mucus.

The daisy parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus) covers itself with a mucus cocoon at night.

The daisy parrotfish (Chlorurus sordidus) covers itself with a mucus cocoon at night.

Parrotfish

Parrotfish live around the coral reefs of tropical water. Their teeth are fused together, forming plates. These plates make the mouth look like a bird's beak and give the fish its name.

The fish are known for their interesting development. Many species change their gender during their lifetime. They start their life as a female (the initial stage) and later change into a male (the terminal phase). The initial phase is often dull in colour while the terminal phase is brightly coloured.

Parrotfish feed on the algae that grows on coral. In order to do this, they scrape the coral with their teeth and bite off pieces in the process. Teeth in their throat grind the coral, producing grit. The grit travels through the digestive tract of the animal and is eventually released into the environment, forming coral sand.

Mucus Cocoons in Parrotfish

Like the skin of other fish, parrotfish skin makes mucus. In addition, parrotfish have mucus glands in their gill chambers. At night, they make a mucus cocoon and enclose themselves within it for protection. The mucus for the cocoon is secreted by the gill glands and released from the mouth of the fish.

The function of the cocoon isn't completely certain. A common theory is that it hides the scent of the parrotfish, preventing attack by predators while it's asleep. Another theory is that the cocoon prevents the attack of little blood-sucking parasites called gnathiid isopods. Cleaner fish remove these creatures from reef fish during the day, but the cleaners aren't available at night.

The marbled or leopard African lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus)

The marbled or leopard African lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus)

African Lungfish

African lungfish belong to the genus Protopterus and live in fresh water. The four species are all long and eel-like fish. The pair of side fins near their head (pectoral fins) and near their tail (pelvic fins) are long and narrow, unlike those of most other fish. The fins sometimes look like pieces of spaghetti or string. African lungfish are carnivores and feed on small fish and amphibians.

Lungfish got their name because they have a pouch extending from their digestive tract that acts as a lung. African lungfish have two lungs. The animals live in shallow water or in water that is low in oxygen. Like other fish, they do have gills, which extract oxygen from the water. The gills alone don't provide them with enough oxygen, however. African lungfish are said to be obligate air breathers because they can't survive unless they breathe air.

Lungfish periodically come to the surface to take a gulp of air. The air passes along their digestive tract and into their lung (or lungs). The lung contains subdivisions and is richly supplied by blood vessels. Oxygen leaves the air in the lung and enters the lungfish's blood, while carbon dioxide moves in the opposite direction.

The lung of a lungfish is a modified swim bladder. The swim bladder is a gas-filled sac that provides buoyancy in other fish.

Mucus Cocoons in African Lungfish

As the water in their habitat starts to disappear during the dry season, African lungfish bury themselves in the mud on the bottom of their stream, river, or lake and become dormant. They dig a burrow by taking mud into their mouth and then pushing it out of their body through the openings of their gill chambers. Their skin secretes a mucus cocoon to prevent them from becoming dehydrated during dormancy. The cocoon gradually hardens. The heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate of the fish decrease. This state of dormancy during hot and dry weather is known as estivation.

A lungfish continues to breathe air during estivation, but at a greatly reduced rate. The gills are inactive. A small tube leading into the burrow allows air to enter it. A small hole in the mucus cocoon allows the animal to take in oxygen.

The fish slowly breaks down its own muscles for nourishment during estivation. It's therefore in a weakened condition when it emerges from the burrow. African lungfish normally estivate only until the next rainy season, but they have been successfully revived after several years of dormancy.

Hagfish

Although hagfish are commonly referred to as "fish", their structure is very different from that of other fish. They are strange animals with a slender, elongated body. There is a ring of tentacles around their mouth and a tail fin at the end of their body. They have a partial skull made of cartilage but have no backbone. They also lack jaws and scales. They do have gills, however, and their skin produces mucus. The animals belong to the class Myxini.

Hagfish live on the ocean floor. They are sometimes found feeding inside the bodies of dead fish and were once classified as parasites and scavengers. Current research indicates that the main item in their diet is marine worms. As shown in the video below, they also eat other prey. Their rasping tongue enables them to pull flesh off their prey.

Hagfish rapidly increase their mucus production when they feel threatened. The mucus is produced almost immediately after a hagfish is attacked and forms a sheet when it contacts the water. The slime enters the mouth and gill chambers of a predator and suffocates it. Scientists are very interested in the nature of this slime.

Clothing From Hagfish Slime

Hagfish mucus contains many small protein threads that are both strong and elastic. Researchers suspect that these threads could be used to make a fabric with desirable properties. We may one day be able to buy clothing made from the protein found in hagfish slime.

It's unlikely that we will have hagfish farms in the future in order to harvest slime. As is done with many useful substances discovered in nature, the plan is to eventually add the animal's genes for slime or protein thread production to bacteria. The bacteria will then be "farmed" in fermenters and the resulting protein extracted.

A hagfish emerging from a sponge by California's Channel Islands

A hagfish emerging from a sponge by California's Channel Islands

A Natural Sunscreen From Fish Mucus

A research team consisting of Swedish and Spanish scientists has made another interesting discovery about fish mucus. The team has found that when they attach chemicals from the mucus to one found in crustacean shells, the resulting substance blocks both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays from the sun. These are the rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. The combined chemicals could be useful as a natural, environmentally friendly sunscreen for humans.

The light-blocking chemicals in fish mucus are known as mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). The chemicals have been found in certain fungi, algae, and cyanobacteria as well as in reef-dwelling fish.

The researchers added the MAAs to a lattice made of chitosan. Chitosan is a chemical obtained from crustacean shells. It's an interesting substance in its own right because it seems to have the ability to heal wounds. Chitosan exists as long molecules known as polymers and can be easily applied to the skin when formulated correctly. It acts as a carrier for the MAAs.

Potential Benefits of the Sunscreen

The researchers found that the MAA/chitosan mixture maintained its resistance to UV light for twelve hours and at temperatures up to 80°C. It might provide protection for outdoor furniture as well as people. More research is required before the sunscreen is sold to the public, assuming it eventually becomes available to us.

Finding new human sunscreens that don't harm coral reefs when they enter the water is very important. Oxybenzone is a common chemical in present sunscreens. Evidence suggests that this chemical is damaging coral. An MAA/chitosan mixture should be biodegradable and safer for the environment.

The male or terminal phase rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia) is found around coral reefs. Some sunscreen chemicals are believed to damage coral.

The male or terminal phase rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia) is found around coral reefs. Some sunscreen chemicals are believed to damage coral.

Antibacterial Chemicals in Mucus

A chemist at Oregon State University has recently reported some interesting discoveries about microorganisms in fish mucus. Though the mucus can trap harmful microbes, in at least some species it seems to contain useful microorganisms as well. Some fish apparently have a microbiome, as we do. The fish and human microbiome consists of bacteria and other microbes that live in or on the body.

Scientists have found that some members of our microbiome are helpful for us. Others appear to be neutral, and a few seem to be potentially harmful. Certain bacteria in the surface microbiome of fish may help them and indirectly us as well.

The Oregon research team analyzed the surface mucus of seventeen species of fish that live on the Pacific coast of North America. They were able to isolate forty-seven different strains of bacteria from the slime samples. They grew these bacteria in cultures and extracted chemicals from them. They then tested the chemicals to see how they affected certain bacteria that cause disease in humans.

Fifteen of the extracts exhibited "strong inhibition" against MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA causes some serious health disorders in humans and is becoming hard to treat due to antibiotic resistance. Although the discovery doesn't necessarily mean that the extracts will have the same benefit in humans, the chemicals are definitely worth investigating. Antibiotic resistance in harmful bacteria is becoming a major problem. We need new chemicals to fight the diseases caused by these microbes.

The researchers have found another potentially useful chemical made by a bacterium in fish mucus. The chemical inhibits human colon cancer cells in lab equipment. Once again, it needs to be tested in living organisms, but it might be helpful for us.

The Importance of Maintaining Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety or differences in the characteristics of living things. The ways in which different fish use mucus and the different compositions of the mucus are examples of biodiversity.

Maintaining biodiversity is important not only for the sake of the other living things on the planet but also for us. We've found many helpful chemicals and materials in nature in addition to hagfish slime, MAAs, and chitosan. There are probably many more beneficial substances to be discovered. The disappearance of animals and plants before we discover these new substances would be sad in more ways than one.

References

  • Discus fish parent young like mammalian mothers from the phys.org news service
  • Facts about parrotfish from National Geographic
  • Fish mucous cocoons: the "mosquito nets” of the sea from The Royal Society Publishing
  • Information about the African lungfish from the Oregon Zoo
  • Hagfish slime for clothing from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • Fish mucus sunscreen from the NIH (National Institutes of Health)
  • Mixing a fish secretion with shrimp shells to make a sunscreen from New Scientist
  • Microbes in fish mucus make antibacterial chemicals from a scientist at Oregon State University via The Conversation

© 2015 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 28, 2018:

Thank you very much for the comment.

supernaturalgirly on October 28, 2018:

This is a super neat article and one, as a future marine biologist, I was very compelled to read. Nice work

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 11, 2018:

I know that the female seadragon releases eggs into cups on the male’s brood patch and that these cups are adapted to hold the eggs. I haven’t found more specific information about the attachment method, however, or any information stating that mucus is involved. If your problem involves one particular male, perhaps the problem is with his brood patch rather than the female’s eggs. It’s just a thought.

Deborah Corker on September 09, 2018:

I understand mucus is sometimes used by fish as a glue. I’m looking at a problem found in captive breeding of seadragons. The female may form the eggs but she mainly fails to stick the eggs to the underside of the Male when in captivity. Could this be a dietary issue, she’s missing something that she needs to adapt the mucus into glue? Any thoughts would be very welcome.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 18, 2018:

Thanks for sharing the interesting information, Bert. I've never heard of anticoagulant properties in the slime, but investigating the idea could be worthwhile, as you suggest.

Bert on February 13, 2018:

Folks, nice article. Found it looking for information about fish slime. I am specifically looking to see if northern chain pickerel are known to have anticoagulant properties in their slime. Fished in Maine for many years and always noticed that if I got a cut from teeth or gill rakes from a pickerel that it would bleed a lot and for a long time, even a slight scratch. I have a hunch the slime does and that this might aid the fish in hunting its prey. Could be beneficial to human health to study.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2018:

Thank you, Walter. Good luck with your research. Fish mucus is an interesting topic to explore.

Walter on January 30, 2018:

Congratulations and thanks for sharing. I would like to know more research on this topic, I am from Ecuador

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 10, 2017:

Thank you for the visit and comment, Jacky.

Jacky Collier on November 10, 2017:

Very interesting and compelling article.

Thanks for sharing

Jacky

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 09, 2017:

Thank you very much, Jon. I appreciate your comment and the link. Welcome to HP!

Jon Richfield from South Africa on November 09, 2017:

Linda, this is a blast! I found your article on a google search and immediately joined HP. I will be linking to it from my FB page and expect that the brightest lights with serious interests in biology will follow suit

Many thanks

Jon

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 29, 2017:

I appreciate your comment, Angelique.

Angelique Antonio on August 29, 2017:

I love your article ma'am, and I also want to learn more about the fish mucus and its other uses. Thank you for sharing this beautiful article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 29, 2017:

Thank you very much for commenting, Mary. Observing the fish must have been an interesting experience. They are attractive animals.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 29, 2017:

This is really interesting. I know some of these fish well when we worked in Maldives as we were always snorkeling there on weekends. Again, another surprise from Mother Nature.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2016:

Hi, DrMark. I read about the death of the last frog in the species, but I didn't know that the young fed on slime. Thanks for sharing the information. Thank you very much for sharing the article on Flipboard as well!

DrMark1961 on October 17, 2016:

A species of Panamanian frog went extinct last week; the father fed the young from the slime on his back. Interesting reading about the fish. Shared on Flipboard.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 17, 2016:

Thank you so much for the lovely comment and the kind shares, Peggy. I appreciate your visit a great deal!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2016:

Hi Alicia,

Your articles never fail to amaze me. I always look forward to learning things of which I know little and in this article I also learned a couple of new words. Estivation is one of which I was unfamiliar. I never realized that mucus of some fish actually served to feed their young. Interesting how the fry are weaned. Happy to share, pin and tweet.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 08, 2016:

Hi, Rachel. Thanks for the visit and comment. Blessings to you as well!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on February 08, 2016:

Hi Alicia, It's hard to think of mucus when looking at those beautiful and colorful fish. You have a really interesting hub. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings to you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 02, 2016:

Thanks, Taranwanderer. I'm not sure how I'd feel about wearing a hat made of fish mucus. It's an interesting idea!

Taranwanderer on February 02, 2016:

At first glance, I probably wouldn't wear a hat made with fish mucus hahaha. No but yet another seriously informative hub. Kudos!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2016:

Thank you, Bill. I appreciate your second visit and the congratulations a great deal.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2016:

Thank you so much for such a kind comment, Andriana!

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on January 19, 2016:

Hi Linda. Congratulations on the HOTD, a very deserving and interesting hub.

Andriana on January 19, 2016:

I thought this article is a supreme example of a well-written hub. Thank you!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2016:

Hi, Heidi. Thank you very much for the visit, comment and congrats!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 19, 2016:

Wow, what an interesting and very unusual topic hub! Great pics and such detail info... well deserving of Hub of the Day. Congrats!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2016:

Thank you very much, Kristen. It is amazing! I appreciate your kindness.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 19, 2016:

Linda, you're on a roll. Since I stopped by here not too long ago, kudos and congrats on HOTD!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 19, 2016:

Thank you so much for the congratulations and the comment, ChitrangadaSharan! I think that fish are very interesting animals. They are often underappreciated as living things.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 19, 2016:

Congratulations for the well deserved HOTD!

Your articles are full of useful information and this one is no different. Fish is another wonderful and beautiful creature of Nature and is useful to us in so many different ways. While going through your hub I was wondering how little we know about them.

Lovely pictures and a very informative hub. Thanks for sharing!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 12, 2016:

You're very welcome!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 11, 2016:

I appreciate your comment, Kristen. Thanks for visiting!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on January 11, 2016:

Alicia, this was really interesting and wonderful to read about--fascinating to know about, too. Thanks for sharing this lens. Lovely pics too!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2015:

Thank you very much for such a nice comment, Genna. I appreciate your visit a great deal!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 15, 2015:

Fish sunscreen for humans. Who knew? This is fascinating. And your photos are stunning. I always enjoy reading your unusual articles, Linda, and learn something new, each and every time.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2015:

Thank you, truthfornow. I appreciate your comment.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on December 12, 2015:

Your beautiful pictures attracted me towards reading an article about fish mucus and slime. Very informative article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 11, 2015:

Thank you for the lovely comment, aesta1. I love the thought of fish being your friends!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 11, 2015:

Not only is this article very informative, it is also full of colour. Reminds me of my snorkelling days. It is good to see my old friends again especially the parrot fish.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 11, 2015:

I agree, poetryman. Nature is useful as well as interesting. Thanks for the visit.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 11, 2015:

Hi, Sheila. Yes, we can certainly learn a lot from nature! Thank you very much for the comment.

poetryman6969 on December 11, 2015:

I think it's always pretty cool to see something that we might otherwise consider useless or even disgusting can be of use to us after all. Nature provides.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on December 11, 2015:

This was so interesting! I learned so much reading this hub. It always amazes me as to what we can learn from nature. Great hub and wonderful pictures! :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 07, 2015:

Hi, Bill. Thank you very much for the comment.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on December 07, 2015:

How interesting Linda. I was not aware that fish use mucus and slime for protection. The story of that Africa Lungfish surviving during the dry season is fascinating. As always thank you for the education.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 06, 2015:

Hi, Vellur. Thank you very much for the visit. I appreciate your comment .

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 06, 2015:

Great hub, interesting and informative. Did not know all this about mucus. Clearly explained with images. Thank you for sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 06, 2015:

Thank you, Deb. I appreciate your visit and comment.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 06, 2015:

More fascinating material. You always find the most interesting things to write about.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 05, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Flourish!

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 05, 2015:

Unique topic that teaches and entertains too! Fascinating!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 04, 2015:

Hi, Martie. Thanks for the visit and the comment! I hope the fish are treated with care, too. Scientists sometimes discover how to genetically engineer bacteria to make a useful substance made by another living thing. This means that they don't need the living animal or plant to obtain the substance, which is good.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 04, 2015:

Alicia, this is so-so interesting, I am totally amazed. I hope when people decide to use the mucus of fish for the manufacturing of sunscreens, they will do it with great care.

Thank you for this very interesting and informative hub about fish mucus and its functions.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 04, 2015:

That's a good point, Eva. We should thank the people who have the courage to work with hagfish slime! Thank you for the comment.

PE Hardwicke from Midwest USA on December 04, 2015:

Very interesting article with beautiful images. What a diversity of life forms and biomolecules. Thanks Alicia. I expect we should also thank people who can work with some strange substances, and especially with some horrific-looking creatures as the hagfish.

Eva

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 03, 2015:

Thanks for reading my hub, drbj. I appreciate your comment very much!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 03, 2015:

Thank you very much for the comment, Nadine. Good luck with your novel!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 03, 2015:

Thank you for the visit and comment, Devika.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on December 03, 2015:

I will admit, Alicia, that I did have a few reservations about reading an article about mucus and fish slime but I forged ahead anyway since you were the author.

I'm glad I did. This was an enthralling exposition about those topics and I learned more than expected about those topics and the various fish you chose as illustrations. Thank you for this educational and interesting experience.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 03, 2015:

I always learn so much from your posts. When I take up finishing my last novel in the awakening to our ascension series next year, your well written researched posts will be an amazing source of information for my novel. ( If so I will add your posts into my sources page )

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 03, 2015:

Interesting about Fish Mucus. I often felt that through my fingers from fish and did not think much of it. I don't touch fish to avoid that slime.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 02, 2015:

Hi, PNWtravels. Thank you very much for the comment. I appreciate your visit.

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on December 02, 2015:

I kept an aquarium for many years, so I knew that fish slime was important, but I learned a lot more from this very interesting article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 02, 2015:

Thank you very much, Larry! I agree - it is important that researchers develop new sunscreens that are safe for us and the environment, especially when we're being advised to wear sunscreen frequently.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on December 02, 2015:

Very important that they develop a more environmentally friendly sunscreen.

Wonderfully written and compelling.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2015:

Thank you so much for the great comment and the share, Jackie! I hope the new sunscreen becomes a reality. As you say, it could be ideal - effective for us and safe for the ocean.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 01, 2015:

So disgustingly interesting! Just kidding about the slime. The greatest invention of green I have heard of yet! Sunscreen for us with no danger to the water or fish that live there. You wonder how they come up with these ideas don't you? But sure glad they do!

Outstanding hub; sharing!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2015:

Thank you so much, Bill! I appreciate your lovely comment a great deal.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 01, 2015:

I swear you have the most interesting articles, and they are usually about topics I've never seen another article about....no exception to that rule here. Great article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 01, 2015:

Thank you very much, Buildreps. I appreciate your visit and kind comment!

Buildreps from Europe on December 01, 2015:

I enjoyed reading this beautiful article very much, Alicia. The valuable information you provide is wonderfully presented in carefully composed sentences of well chosen words. Thank you for this great reader!

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