Blobfish

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Blobfish
Scientific drawing of blobfish in the deep sea by Alan Riverstone McCulloch
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Actinopterygii
Order:Scorpaeniformes
Family:Psychrolutidae
Genus:Psychrolutes
Species:P. marcidus
Binomial name
Psychrolutes marcidus
(McCulloch, 1926)
 
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Blobfish
Scientific drawing of blobfish in the deep sea by Alan Riverstone McCulloch
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Actinopterygii
Order:Scorpaeniformes
Family:Psychrolutidae
Genus:Psychrolutes
Species:P. marcidus
Binomial name
Psychrolutes marcidus
(McCulloch, 1926)

The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is a deep sea fish of the family Psychrolutidae. It inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, as well as the waters of New Zealand.[1]

Blobfish are typically shorter than 30 cm. They live at depths between 600 and 1,200 m (2,000 and 3,900 ft) where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient for maintaining buoyancy.[1] Instead, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats in front of it such as deep-ocean crustaceans.[2]

Blobfish are often caught as bycatch in bottom trawling nets. Scientists now fear the blobfish could become an endangered species because of deep-ocean trawling.[3][4]

Artist's impression of two blobfish in situ

Popular culture

Due to its low density flesh, the blobfish's shape is very different when it is out of water. Its unappealing looks have created much discussion in media outlets.[5]

The musician and author Michael Hearst featured a composition titled "Blobfish", inspired by the animal, on his 2012 album Songs For Unusual Creatures,[6] and subsequently created a blobfish episode for his PBS Digital series.[7]

In September 2013 the blobfish was voted the "World's Ugliest Animal", based on photographs of decompressed specimens, and adopted as the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, in an initiative "dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children".[8][9]

References

  1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Psychrolutes marcidus" in FishBase. February 2010 version.
  2. ^ Hearst, Michael (2012). Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals. Chronicle Books. pp. 24–25. ISBN 978-1-4521-0467-6. 
  3. ^ "So you think you've had a bad day? Spare a thought for the world's most miserable-looking fish, which is now in danger of being wiped out". The Daily Mail (London). 27 January 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Hough, Andrew (26 January 2010). "Blobfish: world's most 'miserable looking' marine animal facing exinction". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Blobfish" Dialogue Talk.
  6. ^ Hearst, Michael (2012). "Blobfish". NPR. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Hearst, Michael (3 January 2014). "The Incredible True Story of the Blobfish". PBS. 
  8. ^ "Blobfish voted ugliest animal in online mascot vote". Ugly Animal Preservation Society. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Victoria Gill (12 September 2013). "Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote". BBC. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 

External links