Most of the weird animals I normally feature are at least a little bit cute but today’s is a little different; it’s often described as the world’s ugliest animal but it’s also been said to have ‘kind, and very wise’ eyes… meet the Blobfish!
Conservation Status: Endangered
Found: Deep waters off the coasts of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand
Weirdest Features: Their sad eyes, sad mouths and large noses. Basically, their faces.
Why The Sad Face?
As of 2013, the poor little Blobfish has been named the World’s Ugliest Animal so it’s worth talking a little about how this strange animal looks.
Firstly it’s worth pointing on that Blobfish look very different underwater than they do out of it, it’s only when they’re taken out of water that they become so… blobby. They’re actually pretty short, around 30cm long or less, and don’t have any muscles or bones – not even teeth!
They’re basically gelatinous masses, quite literally blobs of jelly-like flesh, with big noses, tiny eyes and large mouths. Their mouths have to be pretty big though as they lack teeth and muscle, so they spend their lives floating along near the ocean floor and, when they get hungry, they just open their mouths and let crabs, sea urchins, sea pens and shellfish just float inside.
They’ve never been photographed underwater, at least at the depths where it lives, but scientists think it probably looks a little like this underwater:
Where Are They All?
Blobfish are rarely seen by humans and there’s a good reason for that. Most Blobfish are found living in really deep water – between 600 and 1,200 m (2,000 and 3,900 ft) deep.
The problem with living so deep is that down there the pressure is 60 to 120 times as great as at sea level which would make the swim bladder, that most fish have, pretty inefficient or just collapse. But that’s ok, the swim bladder is mostly for allowing fish to swim and float and, as we know, the Blobfish mostly just likes to float along happily without using any energy.
Their lack of swim bladder is the reason their flesh is so jelly-like; naturally it’s less dense than water allowing the Blobfish to naturally float just above the ocean floor which works out pretty perfect for them but does mean we don’t see them very often!
They Look Pretty Sad… How’s Their Life?
Not so great, sadly. I mean I’m sure they’d be pretty happy floating along, lazily on the ocean floor, looking all blobby… but increasingly often they’re not allowed to do that anymore. As deep-ocean trawling becomes more common, more and more Blobfish are getting caught in nets and dragged to the surface where they immediately die. Thanks to this, Blobfish are now an endangered species and need protecting! Poor little things!