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blob fish

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The blobfish is one of the most recently discovered creatures in the world – and it's really ugly!

Accidentally caught during a research cruise off the coast of New Zealand in 2003, the blobfish (or smoothhead blobfish in particular) is a relatively recent discovery.

Although scientists classified the species in 1926, the public had never heard of the creature, only gaining popularity and attention for its strange appearance after capture.

Due to its small numbers and remote habitat, little is known about this fish. Since 2013, the blobfish has officially been the ugliest creature in the world, according to an online poll conducted by the UK-based Ugly Society.

5 Interesting Blobfish Facts

blob fish
Learn more about Blobfishes in this detailed article!

© World-Wide-Photography/Shutterstock.com

  • Blobfish do not have swim bladders — the air-filled sacs that keep many different species of fish buoyant — because at depths where blobfish live, these bladders collapse under water pressure.
  • They are not very active and mainly open their mouths when a food source is near them.
  • Blobfish have no skeleton, only partial skeletons. They also have very little muscle, which helps them survive the intense pressures of their deep-sea habitats.
  • Their gelatinous flesh is slightly less dense than seawater, which helps them stay buoyant and prevents them from spitting out the contents of their stomachs.
  • The shape of the smoothhead blobfish in its natural environment is quite different from when it was removed. Outside or in shallow water, it takes on a much uglier appearance.

You can check out more incredible facts about blobfish here.

scientific name

blob fish
The blobfish is an endangered species.

© World-Wide-Photography/Shutterstock.com

There are more than 30 species in 8 genera in the family Psychrolutidae. The most famous of this family is the blobfish ( Psychrolutes marcidus ), also known as the smoothhead blobfish.

These fish are commonly known as black-headed cuckoos. Other closely related species are the spotted cuckoo ( Psychrolutes phrictus ) and the Western Australian cuckoo ( Psychrolutes occientalis ).

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Here are the different types of blobfish we currently know about:

  • Psychrolutes marcidus.
  • Psychrolutes phrictus.
  • Psychrolutes Micropores.
  • Psychrolutes West.

evolution and origin

According to scientists, blobfish originated from fish that had air sacs but had to compete with many other fish for food. By eliminating the air sacs and employing gelatinous bodies in their place, fish may swim deeper with less competition.

Blobfish evolve in two ways over time:

The air sacs that keep the blobfish afloat are lost and replaced by gelatin bodies that can withstand deeper waters. The second is to change swimming into floating.

After a fish has been hauled away from its environment and suffered severe tissue damage from the sudden decompression that occurred while being hauled to the surface, it just looks sad and pink.

appearance and behavior

blob fish coming out of the water
The blobfish has a strange, almost human-like face. Some call it one of the ugliest creatures on earth.

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When in shallow water or water above sea level, the blobfish takes on an ugly, almost frightening appearance, like a gelatinous old man whose face is starting to melt.

However, the blobfish doesn't look that way in its natural habitat. It looks a lot like a normal fish. Extreme pressure in the depths of the ocean (up to 120 times the pressure at the surface) brings blobfish together.

Blobfish as they surface, as their anatomy has largely adapted to their deep-sea habitat. They have little to no bones and little to no muscle, which explains their gelatinous appearance when they surface. When blobfish are dragged to the surface, they experience a rapid pressure drop, which causes their anatomy to become a mess.

Blobfish are usually white or light gray in color. Their size varies throughout the Psychrolutidae family, with smoothhead blobfish growing up to 12 inches and blobfish sculpins growing up to 28 inches. In their natural habitat, cuckoos have broad, flattened heads, large, wide eyes, and curved mouths with fleshy lips. The body tapers rapidly behind the head. There are 8 spines on the dorsal fin of this fish, about 20 soft rays, no spines on the anal fin, and 12 to 14 soft rays. The pectoral fins are large and become fleshy in larger specimens.

Smallest bones and water-filled flesh are characteristic of deep sea fishes as this allows them to live in harsh environments. This anatomy also serves them well, as they don't have to expend as much energy to move along the ocean floor in search of food. Blobfish live lethargic lives, moving only when necessary. Since their skin is slightly less dense than seawater, this also helps prevent them from spitting out their stomach contents.

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Little is known about the behavior of blobfish because it is difficult to observe them in their natural habitat on the bottom of the ocean. However, it is believed that they prefer to rest and can go days without food to conserve energy.

Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus)


Blobfish are very adapted to deep water and live close to the bottom of the sea. The smoothhead blobfish lives at depths of 2,000 to 4,000 feet near Tasmania and New Zealand in Australia.

A second vesiclehead species, Psychrolutes microporous, lives in deep waters between Australia and Tasmania. The Western Australian blobfish lives in the eastern Indian Ocean near Raleigh Shoals on the northwest coast of Australia.

Another species, the blobfish, lives even deeper underwater, reaching depths of up to 9,800 feet. The species is mainly found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, especially the Gorda Bluffs off the coast of California, but is also found in waters off Japan.


Like many deep-sea fish, blobfish feed on invertebrates and carrion that falls to the seafloor. Due to their rather large mouths, they can eat larger creatures such as sea pens, crabs, mollusks and sea urchins. But at the same time, they also consume waste such as plastic, which kills them. These fish are lazy and don't hunt, so if the habitat around them changes and food sources become unavailable, they may die. How much food they must consume each day is unknown.

Predators and Threats

Some scientists believe that blobfish numbers may be declining due to commercial fishing and that blobfish are therefore highly endangered. Others, however, argue that we don't know enough about them and their deep-water habitats, which may obscure the true number of Psychrolutes marcidus living in the ocean.

Blobfish are sometimes caught by fishing trawlers used to catch deep sea favorites such as orange snapper and various crustaceans in their natural setting. While blobfish that get entangled in these nets inadvertently will be released, this can spell their doom. Marine life caught in fishing nets is known as bycatch and is almost always released. However, bringing blobfish to the surface is generally considered fatal to these creatures, even if they are handled gently.

Blobfish have no natural enemies, except humans, who are unintentional predators. They have not been studied by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so blobfish have not yet received official protected status.

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Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

The exact lifespan of blobfish is unknown, so scientists speculate that they are similar to other deep-water fish and generally live longer than shallow-water fish. Due to their slow growth rate and lack of natural enemies, some may live for more than 100 years.

No one knows exactly how blobfish mate, either. Some scientists believe that blobfish do not tend to their nests, making them vulnerable to predators, although female blobfish males and females have been observed sitting on the nests after the females have laid eggs.

Scientists have observed some blobfish nest next to each other so that the parents can hover above and work together to protect the eggs. They lay profuse eggs, usually pink in color. Blobfish sculpin nests may contain as many as 100,000 eggs, but only 1% are estimated to survive to adulthood.


Since blobfish have not been extensively studied or observed in the wild, no one knows how many blobfish live in the world. According to one estimate, their population worldwide is only 420 individuals.


Why do blobfish look like that?

The extreme pressure in the depths of the ocean makes the blobfish look more like a normal-shaped fish. However, when their bodies are no longer underwater under such great pressure, their gelatinous bodies unravel, making them look like clumps.

What is the function of blobfish?

They do nothing but walk the ocean floor in search of food and eat anything they come across along the way. Their tendency to eat just about anything helps keep the ocean floor clean, but it can also put them at risk if they come across litter.

Can you eat blobfish?

Since these fish are extremely gelatinous and acidic, humans do not consider them edible.

How many species of blobfish are there in the world?

It's hard to know how many blobfish live in the world, but one popular estimate puts it at only about 420 blobfish worldwide. As such, many consider them critically endangered.

What do blobfish eat?

These fish live near the bottom of the ocean and are benthic, but lacking muscle, they will eat almost anything that flows into their mouths.

Is there any record of live blobfish?

No one has had a chance to properly document blobfish in the wild. Most of what is known about blobfish is gleaned from dead washed up on beaches or caught in trawl nets. There are only a few pictures of blobfish in their deep-sea habitats.

What is the name of the most famous blobfish in the world?

Mr. Blobby, caught off the coast of New Zealand in 2003, is the most famous blobfish. It got its name after being preserved in a 70% alcohol solution and is currently housed in the Ichthyology Collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney.

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Blobfish are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

Blobfish belong to the animal kingdom.

Blobfish spawn.