What is the ugliest, strangest, grumpiest looking animal? According to the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, it’s the blobfish.
Contrary to popular belief, the blobfish is real, but it is also extremely rare. Its scientific name is Psychrolutes Marcidus, which comes from the Greek word psychrolouteo, which means “to have a cold bath.” You don’t see this fish very often because it lives at depths of up to 3,900 feet off the coasts of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The pressure of these habitats is about 118 times higher than it is at sea level.
The blobfish doesn’t have any bones or muscles; rather, its body consists of a gelatinous substance. Having a belly full of jelly and nothing else might seem useless, but it actually serves as a kind of adaptation for this species. Most fish have an organ called a “swim bladder” that helps them float and swim; however, this air-filled organ collapses under immense water pressure, so blobfish have a jelled flesh instead. Since its jelly-like flesh is less dense than water, the blobfish naturally floats above the ocean floor.
The blobfish only looks like a blob when it is above water. In its normal habitat—underwater, that is—it is shaped with a large head, a tapered body, and a flat tail. But, out of water, the blobfish reduces in size and shape as the air pressure around it decreases.
No one has ever seen the blobfish eat. However, researchers believe that this fish eats crabs, sea urchins, sea pens, and shellfish. It simply opens its mouth and sucks in whatever drifts by it.
The blobfish is not only rare, it is also endangered. They are often caught in bottom-trawling nets that sweep across the ocean floor to catch lobsters, other fish, and anything that gets in their way. Since these nets are very active, the blobfish is being unintentionally hunted to extinction.
Although the blobfish might not be as cute as a panda bear, it is still important to know about this interesting species.