FlipFact of the Day: Think of the words “ugly” and “fish” together; there’s a very good chance that the first thing that’ll come to your mind is the blobfish. However, while the blobfish’s reputation as the most unpleasant-looking creature on the planet has certainly raised its profile in recent years, the “ugly” moniker is actually quite unfair, because it looks completely different when it’s in its natural habitat.
Known to many as a mishappen, miserable-looking mound of marine meat, 𝘗𝘴𝘺𝘤𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘴 has been described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a “big, blobby tadpole, just a mass of pale, jelly-like flesh with puffy, loose skin, a big nose and beady, staring eyes.” It’s also the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a group that wants to highlight the importance of saving species that don’t get as much media attention because they’re not as aesthetically appealing as pandas or koalas.
Blobfish live in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, as well as off the coasts of California and Japan. They are a rare sight because they dwell between 2,000 to 4,000 feet under the ocean surface. To survive the incredibly high pressure down there—about 120 times higher than at the surface—blobfish have gelatinous pink flesh that’s slightly less dense than water. As a result, the blobfish doesn’t have to try so hard to swim; it sort of just coasts along on the ocean floor, scooping up whatever food ends up floating in front of it.
So the next time you feel like laughing at the poor blobfish, take a moment to think about how it manages to survive in an environment that would turn any ordinary human being into mush.
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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.