Creature Feature: Blobfish

This week’s creature flopped on to the blog just in time for Halloween. It is creepy, weird, and funny looking and that’s why our super rad MSI Instructor Naomi likes the Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus. EEK!!

 Blobfish smithsonean

You might be thinking, That is not a fish.  That is a pile of goo that someone molded in something vaguely fishy and cartoony.  However, the aptly named blobfish has a good reason for looking so goofy.  Blobfish do not live by the surface of the water. They live thousands of feet under the ocean in Australia!

Fish that live higher up in the water have a swim bladder. This bladder is filled with gas so that the fish can maintain buoyancy when it moves around. If you are a blobfish though, having a swim bladder is a bad idea.  If the blobfish had a swim bladder, the depth pressure would compress so much that the fish would die. There is about 120 times more pressure deep in the water compared to the surface! So instead the blob fish has more of a gelatinous body with minimal bones so that the pressure would not squish them.  In short, the blobfish looks like goo so that it doesn’t explode!

So remember: things in nature are often ugly for a very good reason.  Next time you call the blobfish ugly, know that you would look weird too if you lived down in the deep.

Reference:

Edited by KC O’Shea

Photography: http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog/09_13_2013_blobfish.jpg

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/13-of-the-ugliest-animals-on-the-planet/blobfish

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/in-defense-of-the-blobfish-why-the-worlds-ugliest-animal-isnt-as-ugly-as-you-think-it-is-6676336/?no-ist

http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Psychrolutes-marcidus.html

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