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Blobfish

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Blobfish
Psychrolutes marcidus.jpg
Drawing of blobfish by Alan Riverstone McCulloch
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Psychrolutidae
Genus: Psychrolutes
Species: P. marcidus
Binomial name
Psychrolutes 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 titled "Blobfish", inspired by the animal, 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]

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. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/10-ted-cruz-gallery-1.2623324?pmSlide=1.2623310

External links