What is a Blobfish


I always thought I knew about ugly fish living in the Bay area of the New Jersey Shore but once I set my eyes on the Blobfish there was an aura of ugliness that set itself aside from all ugly fish that I have ever seen like a Garfish, Oyster Cracker or even a Monkfish couldn’t win a Halloween costume party (even though it’s not wearing one) with a Blobfish. These guys can’t hold a candle to what most fishermen say is the ugliest fish in the universe. What is a Blobfish?

Blobfish (Psychrolutesmarcidus) also known as a Flathead Sculpin is a foot-long pink fish found in deep H2O (2-4,000 ft) off Australia & New Zealand discovered in 2003. It lacks a skeleton & swim bladder & at the surface’s lower pressure becomes distorted giving it the World’s Ugliest Animal Title

 

A few years back you may have heard about the Blobfish,  a very strange-looking creature that was celebrated on newscast shows like Fox, BBC, and CNN declaring it “the Ugliest Animal in the World” sadly he disappeared from the limelight, and returned to anonymity where he started, at the bottom of the deep ocean.

Blobfish

 

Project Blobfish: text, images, music, video | Glogster EDU - Interactive multimedia posters
          Blobfish-“The Ugliest Animal on the Planet”

A Blobfish from the Genus-Species (Psychrolutes-marcidus) which includes about 40 species of toadfish and sculpins is also known as a Flathead Sculpin which refers to its large globular head and ‘floppy’ skin that is typical of these strange looking fishes. Little is known of their biology.

In 2013, the Blobfish was named the World’s Ugliest Animal on the Planet by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, winning a plurality of approximately 3,000 votes cast in an online competition.

They are approximately one-foot-long pink fish found in the deep waters (2-4,000 ft.) off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. Its bones are soft and they have few muscles and lack a swim bladder, which is the gas-filled internal organ that allows most bony fish like itself to control their ability to stay afloat in water. They were only discovered in 2003 so very little is known about this strange creature.

The Blobfish’s body is jelly-like, with a density slightly lower than the water where it lives. Thanks to that, it floats slightly above the floor of the ocean, where it looks for small crustaceans and other edible matter to pass by so it can suck them up for food.

Blobfish are full of water made up of a gelatinous flesh floating outside their muscles these deep-sea dwellers that shun oxygen-burning muscles and the strong, calcium-dense bones that are normally found in their shallower-dwelling giant predator fish.  They can grow up to 12 inches or 30cm long from nose to tail and weigh up to 9kg and they have no skeleton or teeth.

If you were to pick up a Blobfish by the tail on the deck of a ship or without the higher pressure of the deep sea, it would be like picking up a water balloon that’s half full of water.

Blobfish species live in some of the deepest pockets of the ocean, at depths where few fish can survive. Down there, the pressure can be more than 100 times what the atmospheric pressure you feel right now, and the fish has adapted accordingly. Its body is squishy, with soft bones and very little muscle. They have no known predators but are one of the deepwater fish that are netted up by fishermen looking for other species.

Blobfish tend to grow slowly, take a long time to reach maturity, and have extended lifespans. A similar deepwater species called the Rougheye Rockfish, which lives at depths of 150 to 450 meters, can live for more than 200 years.

Where Do Blobfish Live

 

A blobfish in water
           Blob Fish laying on the sea bottom

The Blobfish lives on the ocean floor in around 2500 ft. of water off the coast of Taznmainia and Australia where the high pressure in those depths of the sea keeps the Blobfish intact and well…. how can I say? less ugly.

Gas-filled sacs of air called Swim Bladders in their body help them move around and stay buoyant on the sea bottom. When you take a fish with swim bladders out of their deepwater natural habitats, their air sac “may expand when they rise.

As the Blobfish come up towards the surface from the deeper depth, the higher pressure decreases, and the result is the bladder in the fish inflates sometimes pushing the fish’s stomach right out his mouth. In the case of the Blobfish, it helps create the ugliest fish on the planet reputation that it’s noted for.

Once removed from that depth of deep-sea and high pressure up to land and low pressure the fish doesn’t keep its shape and creates a funny effect on this ugly fish that gives it its name where no light penetrates and species are acclimated to incredible pressure, the environment in which the blobfish lives is very different from those experienced by fish living in shallow-water ecosystems.

Fish that live in these cold dark depths of the sea lead more lethargic lives, moving slowly and only when absolutely necessary. Because of where a Blobfish’s habitat is located they are listed as a Bycatch species fish that is inadvertently scooped up by Fisherman looking for other types of deepwater fish on the sea bottom.

Bycatch can be fish, but also includes other animals such as dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and seabirds that become hooked or entangled in fishing gear. For NOAA Fisheries, bycatch refers to“discarded catch of marine species and unobserved mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing vessels and gear.” These unintentionally caught animals often suffer injuries or die. Unfortunatley Blobfish is listed as one of the threatened species.

 

 

 

 

Why Did My Goldfish Change Color

Blobfish Underwater

The Blobfish looks quite normal when it’s down deep underwater in the ocean where it lives and it’s not until it comes up to the surface that it changes in appearance and becomes what most people think is extremely ugly to look at.

When a Blobfish is brought up to the water surface, decompression can make it expand and cause its skin to relax, distorting its features and giving it that characteristic big nose. And on land or on the deck of a boat, its gelatinous tissue doesn’t hold its structure as it does under the high pressure on the bottom of the ocean, so it collapses into a shapeless mass much like a washed-up jellyfish.

A Blobfish doesn’t have any known natural predators besides humans. The most common cause of death for blobfish is getting caught in deep-sea trawling nets and rising to the surface. They are designed to stay deep down in the ocean, they die from the pressure changes as the nets get pulled up to the surface. By the time they reach the top, they become distorted and “ugly” looking mysterious creatures that they are celebrated for.

 

What Do Blobfish Eat

 

Because of their slow metabolism, Blobfish don’t need to expel much energy. So they don’t have to eat a lot.  Apart from decomposing meat, blobfish eat snails, crabs, and other crustaceans. Since blobfish are slow-moving so anything living is eaten mostly by chance, especially if it’s slow too. Very small crabs are another element of the blobfish diet.  A blobfish floating by may get lucky to suck in an occasional crab or two, but again, it has to be pretty lucky.

When it comes to slower-moving prey, blobfish will likely feed on urchins, shellfish, and sea pens that are available on the ocean floor. Although sea urchins are spiny, a blobfish can eat them if they are small enough. Additionally, shellfish and sea pens are likely to be eaten if they are unlucky enough to get sucked up by a blobfish when they are small.

Blobfish simply open their mouths and attempt to swallow whatever organic matter they come across as they float around. Whether it’s a small crab or a long-dead fish matters little; as long as it’s organic, they will eat it. Known as the “lie-in-wait” strategy, this method of hunting is incredibly common in the deep sea, where energy is so precious.

 

 

Can You Eat Blobfish

 

Last month, a blobfish was picked up by fisherman with Mr Stollznow deciding to take it home and give it a try (pictured with the blobfish) According to Alex Stollznow, 33, who works at the Sydney Fish Markets, and tried eating one of the bizarre-looking creatures after it was caught in fishing nets. ‘As far as I know, I’m the only person in existence to try it,’ Mr Stollznow told Daily Mail Australia Most people don’t think it’s a real fish.

It’s too weird to be popular.’ Mr Stollznow said that although the fish was available for purchase at the markets’ auctions, he had never seen anyone actually buy one. They were extremely cheap with Mr. Stollznow buying the fish for under $5.

But the fish expert said because they were so rare to find, the blobfish would never make its way onto a restaurant menu – noting hardly anyone would dare to eat it.’People don’t like eating rare foods,’ he said.

Most people don’t think it’s a real fish. It’s too weird to be popular.’ Mr. Stollznow said that although the fish was available for purchase at the markets’ auctions, he had never seen anyone actually buy one.

Most people don’t think it’s a real fish. It’s too weird to be popular.’ Mr. Stollznow said that although the fish was available for purchase at the markets’ auctions, he had never seen anyone actually buy one.

Last month, a blobfish was picked up by fishermen and Mr. Stollznow decided to take it home and give it a try.’It was rich and sweet. It tasted like a butter-poached lobster tail. The flesh was particularly nice,’ he said. ‘Almost everything that swims tastes good.’ He said he had to try little bits at a time in case it made him sick and admitted he had no idea if it was poisonous. Mr. Stollznow enjoyed the blobfish so much, that he said he would definitely be eating it again. Video article from the Daily Mail.com 

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    JimGalloway Author/Editor

 

References: Science Focus-The blobfish: A bloated guide to the world’s ugliest animal (and what they really look like)

Discover Amazing AnimalWhat Do Blobfish Eat

 

 

 

 

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