What is a blob fish
Imagine someone voted you the ugliest person at work. You would be upset, wouldn't you Well it is a very good thing that the blobfish ( Psychrolutes microporos ), a member of the famous Fathead Sculpin family of fish, speaks no English and also lives very far away - 1,000 meters under the sea in fact - because in 2013 it was voted the ugliest animal in the world by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.
The blobfish's annoyed face became an international sensation overnight in 2003 when the NORFANZ expedition pulled a large pink blobfish off the northwest coast of New Zealand. It had a parasitic copepod in its mouth and after a month of flexing it looked like the cartoon character Ziggy. The crew named it Mr. Blobby and took a now famous picture - some would even call it a mug shot - of this tuberous fish from the water.
The eerie valley
Part of the ... charm of the blobfish, if you want to call it that, lies in the creepy valley, the fact that it looks human, but something is wrong. But here's the thing: we should never see the blobfish like that.
"Blobfish look pretty 'normal' underwater," says Gareth Fraser, a professor in the University of Florida's Department of Biology who studies the evolutionary development of marine fish. "They only really become a blob when they move from the pressure below to the surface. In my opinion, they have been wrongly given the ugliest animal status."
So why is the blobfish so ... stupid? Well, it's actually a very clever adaptation: at the extreme depths where the blobfish make their home, they go about their business and experience 120 times the pressure we put on dry land. Because of this, they don't need a lot of bones or muscle to get their bodies in shape - they just let the pressure of the ocean floor do whatever works for them. But up here in the air there's nothing stopping a blobfish's body from merging into a shapeless, spherical puddle. Terra company is definitely not where the blobfish shines.
But the blobfish has some other cool features besides its pretty face. In fact, the aspic-like texture of its meat is unique in itself. Many fish stay afloat thanks to a handy little gas-filled bag called a swim bladder. But under the high pressure of the deep sea, a swim bladder would simply burst. However, the blobfish found a workaround! Their flesh has a lively, jelly-like consistency that lets them criss-cross around in the depth they are most comfortable in.
While very little is known about the blobfish's life history, another blob-like aspect of this animal is that it doesn't seem to move very much or has a lot of friends. Remember, they have very little muscle so it's not like they are the deepest sea's wildest predators. Nobody has ever seen a blob of fish eat, but scientists believe that they are most likely enjoying a diet of whatever goes in their mouths. In addition, every blobfish ever spotted by researchers has been all alone - they don't seem to be in school - and scientists aren't sure how they breed or how often they encounter others of their kind.
The scarcity of blobfish in their known habitat has affected some scientists. While it is possible that they could be trapped in trawls at this depth, it is unlikely - these nets are huge, but not that big. What poses a greater threat to blobfish in the long term is rising sea temperatures - blobfish seem to have to live in very deep, cold water or extreme latitudes.
Secret, your name is blobfish! That being said, all indications are that this species is doing pretty well on its own.
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