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! How much do you know about this somewhat scary-looking, yet perfectly harmless, fish? Here are eight interesting facts about the blobfish.
- 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.
- Their diet consists of small crustaceans like crabs, sea urchins, and shellfish. These goodies are sucked into the blobfish’s mouth as it floats along.
- 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.
- Blobfish grow to about 12 inches long.
- 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.
- The blobfish lacks the swim bladder found in most species of fish, an air sac that allows the fish to adjust and control buoyancy.
- At their native depth, it is believed 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.
- 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.
Image via s i b e r