The blobfish is a rarity. It’s an animal you may know nothing about and have almost certainly never seen in the flesh, yet its picture will be as familiar as your passport photo.
That’s because the blobfish has appeared in countless, “Obscure Animal” listicles, as well as articles referencing cute and weird creatures.
It manages to simultaneously look like an indistinctive blob and your great uncle Harold. It’s a gelatinous, cute/ugly flesh-puddle of an animal, and as this guide shows, it’s incredibly fascinating.
What is a Blobfish?
The blobfish (Psychrolutes microporos) is a deep-sea fish that’s also known as a “fathead”. It lives in the abyssal zone (from the Greek word “αβυσσος” meaning “bottomless”), near to New Zealand and Australia.
The blobfish doesn’t have a swim bladder and its lack of muscles means it doesn’t exert much effort moving around.
Very little is known about this deep-sea marine creature as it’s difficult to observe it in its natural habitat. It was first discovered in 1983 and then described in 1995 by Joseph Nelson. A few specimens of this peculiar species have been discovered since then.
What Does the Blobfish Eat?
It’s assumed that the blobfish is an ambush predator, eating all foods within reach, including sea urchins, crabs, and carrion. Pretty much anything that falls to the sea floor is snapped up by this creature.
What Hunts the Blobfish?
There are believed to be no natural predators for the blobfish. However, blobfish often find their way into deep-sea trawling nets, and this is where many of the known specimens come from.
Do Blobfish Bite You?
Blobfish don’t have teeth. More importantly, they live at the bottom of the deep sea, so there’s little chance of encountering them while swimming, surfing, or snorkeling.
Do Blobfish Have Bones?
The blobfish doesn’t have bones and it doesn’t need them. As a deep-sea fish, it relies on the water pressure for structural support. This is partly why it doesn’t have the most Instagrammable face (more on that below).
Do You Eat Blobfish?
The blobfish’s gelatinous body is not the sort of thing you’ll want to enjoy with a little fresh lemon juice and olive oil. It’s also an acidic fish, and even if that wasn’t the case, the limited specimens mean the blobfish never makes it on the menu.
What Does a Blobfish Look Like?
Grumpy. It has the same look that your kids give you when you take away their Halloween candy and insist they’ve had enough.
Except, that’s only true if we’re talking about a blobfish that has been dragged out of its natural habitat.
Blobfish is a deep-sea fish and the pressure of its natural environment keeps its body fairly solid. It only turns into the droopy-faced creature of memes when it’s taken to the surface.
Away from the deep sea, the blobfish’s tissue becomes damaged and morphs into a gelatinous mass. It means that the pictures you have seen of seemingly grumpy blobfish are all of dead specimens.
Now do you feel guilty for laughing?
Blobfish species are rare, as are pictures and videos of the creatures in their natural habitats. We do have more records of similar creatures though, including the Blob Sculpin, which is a close relative that also looks like a normal fish below water and a grumpy old man above water.
Who Is Mr. Blobby?
Mr. Blobby is the blobfish that made this species famous. It was trawled by the NORFANZ expedition off the coast of New Zealand, with the famous picture taken shortly thereafter.
The drool-like blob on the fish’s face is something known as a mucousy parasite, a copepod that helped to set the tone and make the picture even more iconic.
Is a Blobfish a Real Animal?
Most definitely! It’s a living, breathing, swimming piece of clickbait. It only looks bizarre because it has been dragged out of its natural environment and has suffered a great deal of tissue damage in the process.
You wouldn’t look great either if you were dragged into a new, unfamiliar, and deadly atmosphere.
Summary: Show the Blobfish Some Love!
The blobfish might be a strange-looking creature with an equally unappealing name, but this deep water fish is a key part of the marine ecosystem and should be treated with the same respect as other fish.
It’s time to stand in solidarity for the fathead!
All jokes aside, this fish isn’t as ugly as the memes would have you believe. If you’re interested in learning more about it, we recommend checking out the Ugly Animal Preservation Society here, a tongue-in-cheek animal society that highlights the plight of meme-worthy and overlooked animals like the blobfish.
The Ugly Animal Preservation Society were the ones who dubbed the blobfish the “world’s ugliest animal” following an online poll in 2013, with the society’s president stating, “For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight, but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten”.