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Blobfish

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Blobfish
Psychrolutes marcidus.jpg
Drawing of blobfish by Allan Riverstone McCulloch
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Psychrolutidae
Genus: Psychrolutes
Species:
P. marcidus
Binomial name
Psychrolutes marcidus
(McCulloch, 1926)
Synonyms

Neophrynichthys 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 (12 in). They live at depths between 600 and 1,200 m (2,000 and 3,900 ft) where the pressure is 60 to 120 times as great as 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.

The popular impression of the blobfish as bulbous and gelatinous is partially an artifact of the decompression damage done to specimens when they are brought to the surface from the extreme depths in which they live.[3] In their natural environment, blobfish appear more typical of their superclass Osteichthyes (bony fish).

In popular culture

Artist's impression of two blobfish in situ
  • The musician and author Michael Hearst featured a composition inspired by the animal titled "Blobfish" on his 2012 album Songs for Unusual Creatures[4] and subsequently created a blobfish episode for his PBS Digital series.[5]
  • 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".[6][7]
  • The March 12, 2016, and March 11, 2017, episodes of Saturday Night Live featured sketches in which Kate McKinnon played a very unattractive mermaid who was "65% blobfish".[8]
  • In the seventh episode of the eleventh season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files, Fox Mulder is mistakenly given blobfish, a dish he did not order, in an automated sushi restaurant.[9][10]
  • The New York Daily News published a side-by-side picture of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz with a blobfish.[11]
  • In the Homestar Runner toon, Characters from Yonder Website, Character 5, a stand-in for Marzipan, offers a blobfish as a spice to teach "a little bit o' spice" to Character 2, a stand in for Homestar.[12]
  • In late 2018, Credit Karma ran a TV commercial depicting a man on an airplane who was so upset about his bad credit, he had a blobfish as an emotional support animal on his lap.[13]

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. ^ Schultz, Colin. "In Defense of the Blobfish: Why the "World's Ugliest Animal" Isn't as Ugly as You Think It Is". Smithsonian.
  4. ^ Hearst, Michael (2012). "Blobfish". NPR. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  5. ^ Hearst, Michael (3 January 2014). "The Incredible True Story of the Blobfish". PBS.
  6. ^ "Blobfish voted ugliest animal in online mascot vote". Ugly Animal Preservation Society. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  7. ^ Victoria Gill (12 September 2013). "Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote". BBC. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Watch Mermaids from Saturday Night Live". NBC.com. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  9. ^ Harnick, Chris (February 28, 2018). "Mulder, Scully and the Blobfish? All About The X-Files Prop Gillian Anderson Can't Get Enough Of". E News. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "Eonline.com". Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Blobfish". New York Daily News.
  12. ^ "Characters from Yonder Website - Homestar Runner Wiki". www.hrwiki.org. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  13. ^ https://www.ispot.tv/ad/IVMs/credit-karma-emotional-support-animal

External links