The poor blobfish, doomed to look like he’s wearing a Halloween mask all year round. This deep sea dweller is affixed with a permanent scowl, and is basically a loose, gelatinous sack. It was even named the World’s Ugliest Animal in 2013 — poor guy! But these blobfish facts will make you appreciate this sea creature.
What is a blobfish?
A blobfish (Psychrolutes Marcidus) is a deep sea fish in the Psychrolutidae fish family. They have a large head and a rounded body. Due to their unique appearance they are called the ugliest fish in the ocean.
Blobfish Facts You Need to Know
How much do you know about this somewhat scary-looking, yet perfectly harmless, fish? Here are nine interesting facts about the blobfish.
1. They’re native to Oceania
Blobfish are native to the the waters off Australia and New Zealand, where they bob along the sea floor, scooping up any unsuspecting small creatures that cross their path. They live at average depths of 3,000 feet. Here, the water is just above freezing temperature.
2. Their diet consists of crustaceans
Their diet consists of small crustaceans like crabs, sea urchins, and shellfish. The blobfish sucks these goodies into its mouth as it floats along. A blobfish’s diet is mostly small nuggets: small snail-like mollusks that live in the deep sea. They are very slow movers, making them easy to catch for the blobfish.
Lacking both bones and teeth, they do not actively hunt. In fact, their extremely low muscle mass doesn’t allow for much movement at all. Besides eating, conserving energy is the blobfish’s main job.
3. They grow to about 12 inches long and control their buoyancy
The blobfish lacks the swim bladder found in most species of fish, an air sac that allows the fish to adjust and control buoyancy.
4. Blobfish have predators
The biggest predator to blobfish are fishermen, who catch them by accident when fishing in the deep sea. Fishermen are unfortunately driving the species towards extinction.
5. Blobfish don’t have teeth
After seeing the blobfish, you’ve probably wondered: “Do blobfish have teeth?” The answer is: No! Blobfish do not have any teeth. It is very unlikely that you will ever come face to face with a blobfish due to them living at such deep depths of the ocean, but if you ever did you would not have to worry about being bitten.
6. Blobfish do not have bones or muscles
They are made up of a jelly-like substance that makes them look like a normal fish at depth. But this is because of the intense pressure so deep. When you bring one to the surface, it turns into a limp, floppy mass. This is why it’s often called ugly.
7. Female blobfish lay eggs
The female lays thousands of small pink eggs on the seafloor. Either the female or male blobfish will sit on the eggs to protect them from predators.
8. The blobfish’s appearance changes above the water
One of our favorite blobfish facts is that at their native depth, the blobfish has a more “normal” appearance. At the surface, without the water pressure to hold their shape, they appear to melt into a puddle of goo.
9. The blobfish could be at risk of extinction
Some experts believe the blobfish could be under threat of extinction. Since they live at great depths, they are rarely seen and not much is known about them. They are often killed as bycatch by commercial fishing operators who trawl the ocean bottom. The change in pressure when it is brought to the surface allows little chance for the blobfish’s survival.