Why Is Blobfish Considered to Be One of the World’s Ugliest Animal?
Have you ever seen a blobfish? It is considered to be one of the world’s ugliest animal? While we try to avoid using the word “ugly,” the blobfish does seem to be aesthetically challenged. Chances are, if you’ve ever seen a blobfish, it’s probably been a picture on the Internet, not a live blobfish.
In fact, most people have probably seen the same picture of a seemingly-sad blobfish out of water, taken by Kerryn Parkinson during a 2003 NORFANZ expedition off the coast of New Zealand. That blobfish, known as “Mr. Blobby,” became famous a decade later when his picture was used in an Internet poll of ugly animals. After the votes were counted, the outcome was clear: the blobfish was declared the “World’s Ugliest Animal” by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society in 2013.
Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) live deep underwater and can usually be found 2,000-4,000 feet deep in the waters off the coasts of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, where the pressure is 60 to 120 times as great as at sea level. The blobfish got a bit of a raw deal, though. It’s floppy, sad face and blob-like body suffered from decompression. At those depths, the home of the blobfish consists of minimal light and crushing pressure.
This animal is rarely encountered by humans and therefore not much is known about its natural history. When a blobfish gets caught in a net and is brought to the surface where there is very little pressure, decompression causes it to look quite different than it usually does. When it’s at home on the bottom of the sea, it looks pretty much like a normal fish.
Scientists believe they’re related to another family of fish known as flathead sculpins. Their gelatinous bodies lack a swim bladder, which is what allows other fish to maintain buoyancy. Fortunately, their bodies are less dense that the water around them, so they float just above the floor of the ocean. Without much bodily structure or muscles, they can’t really chase prey. Instead, they probably wait patiently near the sea floor for small crustaceans and other edible matter to float into their mouths.