Overview

Brief Summary

Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus)

The blobfish is a deep sea fish of the family Psychrolutidae. It inhabits waters at depths of 600-1,200 m (2,000-3,900 ft) off the coasts of mainland Australia, from southern Queensland to southern Australia and Western Australia and Tasmania, as well as the waters of New Zealand (1).

It is usually shorter than 30 cm. It lives at depths where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient to maintain buoyancy (1). Instead, its flesh is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this lets the fish float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. The low density flesh changes the blobfish's shape when it is out of water (5).

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]

The blobfish is often caught as bycatch in bottom trawling nets. Scientists fear that this could endanger the blobfish (3,4). The musician and author Michael Hearst featured "Blobfish" on his 2012 album Songs For Unusual Creatures (6) and created a blobfish episode for his PBS Digital series (7). 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" (8,9).

  • 1. Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Psychrolutes marcidus" in FishBase.
  • 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. "So you think you've had a bad day? Spare a thought for the world's most miserable-looking fish, which is now in danger of being wiped out". The Daily Mail (London). 27 January 2010.
  • 4. Hough, Andrew (26 January 2010). "Blobfish: world's most 'miserable looking' marine animal facing exinction". The Daily Telegraph (London).
  • 5. "Blobfish" Dialogue Talk.
  • 6. Hearst, Michael (2012). "Blobfish". NPR.
  • 7. Hearst, Michael (3 January 2014). "The Incredible True Story of the Blobfish". PBS.
  • 8. "Blobfish voted ugliest animal in online mascot vote". Ugly Animal Preservation Society.
  • 9. Victoria Gill (12 September 2013). "Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote". BBC.
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

A temperate species (Ref. 7300) recorded from the continental slope (Ref. 9563, 75154). Benthic (Ref. 75154).
  • May, J.L. and J.G.H. Maxwell 1986 Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p. (Ref. 9563)
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Distribution

Southwest Pacific: Endemic to Australia (off Broken Bay, New South Wales (33°34'S) to off southern Australia, including Tasmania).
  • Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen and J.E. Hanley 1989 Pisces. Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Vol. 7. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 665 p. (Ref. 7300)
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Australia: southern Queensland to southern Australia and Western Australia.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 300 mm ---
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Max. size

30.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 9563))
  • May, J.L. and J.G.H. Maxwell 1986 Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p. (Ref. 9563)
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

bathydemersal; marine; depth range 600 - 1200 m (Ref. 9563)
  • May, J.L. and J.G.H. Maxwell 1986 Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p. (Ref. 9563)
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Depth range based on 20 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 11 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 460 - 1700
  Temperature range (°C): 2.676 - 9.255
  Nitrate (umol/L): 13.337 - 37.598
  Salinity (PPS): 34.398 - 34.763
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.817 - 4.685
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.092 - 2.486
  Silicate (umol/l): 6.386 - 93.349

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 460 - 1700

Temperature range (°C): 2.676 - 9.255

Nitrate (umol/L): 13.337 - 37.598

Salinity (PPS): 34.398 - 34.763

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.817 - 4.685

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.092 - 2.486

Silicate (umol/l): 6.386 - 93.349
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 600 - 1200m.
From 600 to 1200 meters.

Habitat: bathydemersal.
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Wikipedia

Blobfish

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. They live at depths between 600 and 1,200 m (2,000 and 3,900 ft) where the pressure is several dozen times higher than 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. Scientists now fear the blobfish could become an endangered species because of deep-ocean trawling.[3][4]

Artist's impression of two blobfish in situ


Popular culture[edit]

Due to its low density flesh, the blobfish's shape is very different when it is out of water. Its unappealing looks have created much discussion in media outlets.

The musician and author Michael Hearst featured a composition titled "Blobfish", inspired by the animal, on his 2012 album Songs For Unusual Creatures,[5] and subsequently created a blobfish episode for his PBS Digital series.[6]

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".[7][8]

A talking blobfish appears in the film Men in Black 3, sat on the worksurface in the kitchen of the Chinese restaurant along with a couple of other alien food animals, probably suggesting tongue-in-cheek that the blobfish came from space due to their alien appearance.

References[edit]

  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. ^ "So you think you've had a bad day? Spare a thought for the world's most miserable-looking fish, which is now in danger of being wiped out". The Daily Mail (London). 27 January 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Hough, Andrew (26 January 2010). "Blobfish: world's most 'miserable looking' marine animal facing exinction". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Hearst, Michael (2012). "Blobfish". NPR. Retrieved 6 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Hearst, Michael (3 January 2014). "The Incredible True Story of the Blobfish". PBS. 
  7. ^ "Blobfish voted ugliest animal in online mascot vote". Ugly Animal Preservation Society. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Victoria Gill (12 September 2013). "Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote". BBC. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
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Notes

Notes: What we know and what we don't know

The blobfish was discovered in 2012 in a oceanic census that discovered 6,000 new marine species. There is a lot we do not know about the blobfish such as:

1. How exactly does it reproduce?

2. Does it have any social structure?

3. How does it feed itself?

This is not surprising considering that the blobfish was discovered in 2012, only 2y ago.

  • 1. Almanac 2012, National Geographic
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