About Blobfish, Their Types,Habitat,Behavior,LifeSpan & Eating

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blobfish

 

Get to know the Blobfish.

 

The Blobfish is a scarce marine animal that lives from 2000 to 4000 feet below the surface of the ocean. Its scientific name is Psychrolutes marcidus, and it belongs to the family Psychrolutidae. It can found in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. 

It has a gelatinous body that gives it a curious shape when taken out of its natural habitat. 

Although scientists have classified this species back in the 1920s, the Blobfish was unknown to the general public until accidentally caught in 2003. A research voyage just off the coast of New Zealand caught a smooth-head Blobfish, and since then, it has gained popularity due to its extremely odd looks. 

Not much is known about the Blob as its natural habitat is thousands of feet below the surface of the oceans. Blob videos recorded by deep-sea rovers are the primary source of information. 

No one has seen Blob in water in real life other than in Blob pictures and Blob videos, as by the time the Blob is hauled up to the surface of the water, it is already dead disfigured due to decompression. 

 

Blobfish Overview

 

Name Psychrolutes Marcidus

 

Family Psychrolute
Habitat Ocean Beds
Known Location Coasts of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand.
Size 30 cms or 12 inches
Weight 20 pounds
Color Pinkish, white, light grey
Diet Sea urchins, crabs, mollusk, shellfish, sea pens, etc.

Types of Blobfish

 

Four types of Blob’s are found in the oceans near Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean:- 

  • The Smooth-head Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) found off the coasts of Southern Australia.
  • The Western Blobfish (Psychrolutes occidentalis) found near the western coasts of Australia.
  • Mr Blobby (Psychrolutes microporos) found near Norfolk Island.
  • Blobfish Sculpin is found in the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Blobfish Habitat

 

Blob’s are bottom dwellers, and they live close to the ocean floor. Their natural habitat is more than 2000 feet below the surface of the ocean. It is more than twice the depth at which the most powerful submarine can reach.

The smooth-head Blob’s can be found in 2000 to 4000 feet deep ocean beds near Australia, New Zealand and Australia. Psychrolutes microporos or Mr Blobby can be found in the deep ends of the oceans near Australia and New Zealand. 

The Western Australian Blob’s can be found inhabiting the deep ocean beds of the Indian Ocean near Rowley Shoals off the coast of Australia. 

The Blob’s Sculpin occupies the deepest ocean beds at 9800 feet and can be found in the northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean off California and in the deep waters off the coasts of Japan. 

The Blob’s live in extreme-pressure environments, which is about 120 times more than the pressure on dry land. This extreme pressure helps it to hold its shape.

 This kind of pressure would crush the human body organs if we reached this depth without appropriate gear. 

The most robust built submarine would crumple like a piece of the tin if it ever travels this far into the depths of the ocean. 

Even sunlight does not reach this deep hence there is no vegetation where the Blobfish lives. The temperature of the water is just above freezing between 2°C to 4°C. 

Humans have never been able to observe the Blob’s in their natural habitat. The only evidence available are photographs taken by specially designed deep-sea rovers that sweep the ocean floors for details. 

 

The Anatomy of the Blobfish

 

The Blob’s physical characteristic is entirely different in its natural habitat than when it is outside the water. The Blob’s picture in their natural habitat is completely different from the Blob’s hauled out of the water. 

Scientists have observed that the female Blob’s are more significant than the males, and they are light cream colored or dark beige. 

Blob’s are generally white or grey, and their size varies according to the types in the family. The smooth-head Blob’s grows up to 12 inches while the Blob’s Sculpins grow upto 28 inches. 

In their natural habitat, the Blob’s have broad and flatheads with large, widely spaced eyes. They have a wide curved mouth that opens to suck any floating food source that comes near them. 

The Blob’s has a tapered body with eight spines and 20 soft rays on the dorsal fins. The anal fins do not have any spines but are made up of 12 to 14 soft rays. The pectoral fins are more significant than the other fins, and in bigger specimens, they are large fleshy. 

The main characteristics of deep-sea fish are minimal skeleton and flesh with lighter density than water. It enables them to survive in the ocean floors’ harsh conditions where pressure is at its highest. 

Blob’s have no skeleton and no muscles. The intense pressure in its natural environment helps it to keep its form intact. They have soft bones with a gelatinous body slightly less dense than water, making it easier for them to float in the ocean beds. Floating also helps them to conserve energy. 

Blob’s lead very sedentary lives and move when it is necessary. Since the skin of the Blob’s is lighter in density than water, it prevents them from vomiting the contents of their stomach out. 

Most fish have a swimming bladder which helps them to stay buoyant. These swim bladders allow the fish to navigate their way about the water without sinking. But the Blob’s does not have these swim bladders. 

If they did, their organs would expand and burst under the pressure of the deep ocean; hence the Blob’s have gelatinous flesh to help them float just above the ocean floor. 

However, this also means that they are fine as long as they are under extreme pressure conditions. But once they are hauled out of their natural habitat, this very same skin and gelatinous flesh turn them into a sad blob. 

The Blob’s have large heads with narrow fins that help them move very slowly in the depths of the ocean. They also have huge eyes that are gelatinous in texture. These large eyes help them to see in the dark.

The ocean floor does not have any vegetation due to the lack of sunlight. So the Blob’s essentially spends its time conserving its energy. The Blob’s are not predators, and they do not hunt or stalk their prey.

They stay relatively still and eat any edible object or animal that comes near them. Leading food are mollusks, crabs, sea urchins, sea pens and snails. 

The Blob’s do not have teeth either, but they have a robust digestive system with a healthy supply of gastric juices with corrosive capabilities to digest all kinds of food.

 

blobfish

What do Blobfish eat?

 

According to the present records and research, no one has seen a Blob’s eating. However, based on the studies conducted on dead Blobfish, they are omnivores.

But it is also important to note that they do not hunt or kill but wait patiently for food to come. When any food source floats near the Blobfish, it sucks up and eats it.

Scientists have found sea slugs, sea urchins and snails in the stomach of dead Blob’s during research. So these could be a few of the food sources of Blob on the ocean floors. 

The Blob’s has very few muscles and a prolonged metabolic rate; hence it can survive long stretches without food. Slow movement also helps in conserving energy. 

Considering that there is very little food available in the depth of the ocean that the Blob inhabits, its body structure and mechanism helps the Blob’s to survive. 

However, it is still not known how much food a Blobfish needs to consume each day. 

 

The lifespan of a Blobfish

 

It is yet another mystery that still needs to be uncovered. Some scientists believe that Blobfish, like other deep-sea fish, have a long average lifespan. 

Most of the deep-sea animals have an average lifespan of over 100 years due to their slow growth rate and the inherent lack of predators in the ocean beds. Hence, the Blobfish is also estimated to have a similar lifespan, i.e. around 100 years. 

 

Blobfish Behavior

 

Very little has been observed about the Blobfish’s behaviour as it is quite challenging to view and observe them in their natural habitat. The Blobfish are lazy animal from what has been researched, and they prefer to be at rest. 

They can go days without food, and their relative lack of movement helps them to conserve energy. 

 

Life Cycle of a Blobfish

 

A female Blob lays about 9000 to 100,000 eggs at the same time in the nest. Unlike other fish, they do not leave their eggs, but they stand guard by the eggs till it is time to hatch. 

The eggs are pinkish, and they are free from dirt and grime at all times. The female Blobfish spends a good part of the day cleaning the eggs.

It has been observed that several females lay their eggs near one another, and they hover over the eggs together till they hatch. 

When the eggs hatch, they turn into invertebrate blobs. A Blobfish baby is pinkish, and they grow into larger invertebrates until they reach their adult stage. 

 

 

Blobfish Underwater

 

The Blob is a gelatinous, boneless mass when it reaches the surface of the water. However, it does not look the same in its natural habitat. Blob underwater has a whole different look which resembles a regular fish with a largemouth. 

Thousands of feet below the waves, the natural habitat of the Blob is dark as there is no sunlight, cold to almost freezing point and empty as it lacks any vegetation. 

The air pressure at the bottom of the ocean is 100 times more than the air pressure we feel on land. This pressure has resulted in a very different kind of physical structure for these unique deep-sea marine creatures.

The structures help them live in the harsh conditions present in the ocean’s depth. The first significant adaptation feature that they have is very soft bones. Soft bones are less likely to crack under the extreme pressure that is present on the ocean floor. 

Fishes typically have an air-filled sac or swimming bladder, which helps them to stay buoyant. But for deep-sea creatures like the Blob, such an air-filled swimming bladder could be hazardous. 

The extreme pressure will cause the Blob’s swimming bladder to expand and force the internal organs out of the mouth. Instead of the swimming bladder, the Blobfish has gelatinous flesh, which has a density that is slightly less than water, enabling it to stay afloat. 

Their anatomy helps them to live and thrive in the highly pressurized environment of the deep sea. However, Blob’s have significantly less structural support or skeleton, so the high pressure holds its shape together. 

It is the reason that the Blobfish turns into a gooey mess when it is hauled out of its natural habitat and reaches the surface of the water. 

When it is brought out of the water, the Blob’s experiences a rapid pressure drop, and its unique anatomical feature expands and disintegrates, turning it into a blob of gelatinous flesh. 

Hence, the Blobfish is known to have two faces. One is the Blobfish in water, which is like a regular fish, and one which is Blobfish out of the water, a gelatinous mess. 

A Blobfish underwater spends its time waiting for possible prey to pass by so it could suck it up and eat it. 

Due to the inaccessibility of its natural habitat, scientists and researchers know very little about the biological and anatomical build-up of the Blobfish. Most of what is known come from dead specimens of this species hauled in fishing sea trawlers as bycatch.

From what the scientists have observed with the videos that Nautilus the deep-sea rover has recorded, the female Blobfish are more significant than the males. 

Nest guarding, which is known to be almost non-existent in the depth of the oceans, is an essential part of the behavior of the Blobfish underwater.

The female Blobfish lays a large number of eggs, nearly 100,000 in a nest. But only about 1% to 2% of these eggs get the chance to grow into Blobfish. 

The pair stand guard on the eggs as these protein-packed eggs are the favourite snacks of several predators like the octopus, cephalopods and other fish. 

The Blobfish act like guards till the eggs hatch and grow into Blobfish babies. 

Why do Blobfish look the way they do out of water?

 

Blob’s look the way they do when they are out of the water because their physical structure is designed to adapt to the extreme pressure conditions of the deep sea. 

When they are brought out of their natural habitat, the Blob’s undergo decompression which turns them into a shapeless gelatinous blob. It is how they got their name too.

 

Are Blobfish declining in number?

 

Very little is known about the Blob’s. Its reproductive habits and its population. It is difficult to pinpoint how many Blobfish are out there or whether they are an endangered species.

 But scientists do believe that these unique marine animals may be declining due to deep-sea fishing activities. There is a chance that they may be in danger of extinction due to these activities. 

Trawlers are used to catch deep-sea fishes such as roughy and crustaceans. Most of the time, these Blob’s also get caught in these trawlers as bycatch. When caught in these nets, they are tossed back into the ocean, but it is too late for the Blob’s. It cannot survive out of its depth, and it is already dead by the time it is tossed back into the ocean. 

Getting caught inadvertently in these trawlers is causing a significant problem in the numbers of the Blob’s and other non-edible water animals that get caught the same way. 

 

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The Story of Mr Blobby

 

Mr Blobby was a Blobfish that belonged to the species Psychrolutes microporos. My Blobby was caught in 2003 by a scientific expedition NORFANZ. It was trawled up from 1013 to 1340 meters off the Norfolk Ridge and about 1300 km away from the coast of Eastern Australia. 

It was named Mr Blobby, but no one knows if it is a male or a female. No one ever dissected Mr Blobby. When caught, it weighed 1.7 kg, and it was 285 mm in length. 

When caught it and its photographs were circulated, it gained a lot of media attention. These pictures were also awarded the Ugliest Animal in the World by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. 

Although the title was not fair, I Still did it with good intentions. The team of the organization wanted to bring about an awareness of these unique marine animals. 

Now Mr Blobby occupies a shelf in the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection. He kept it in a bottle with 70% ethyl alcohol. He no longer looks like he did when he was caught. His eyes are sunken, his skin is tightened, and his nose has shrunk.  

 

Blobfish Predators and Threats

 

Many scientists believe that the Blob’s is an endangered species. There are no known Blob’s predators other than large trawlers that go deep-sea fishing and accidentally bring in the Blob’s as bycatch.

However, other schools of scientists do not agree under the premise that not enough is known about the Blob’s to come to any conclusion about their predators and threats. 

Blob’s also do not have any known natural predators. It has not been given any official conservation status as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has not researched them. 

 

Blobfish Gaining Popularity

 

The Blob’s may be unsightly, but it sure is gaining a lot of popularity. Especially after winning the award of being the World’s Ugliest Animal. 

They have become one of the most recognizable creatures in the World, and you can find them as plush toys, on T-shirts, and as subjects of poems and stories. You can find Blob’s cartoons and Blob’s memes making a round of the internet. 

Interesting Blobfish Facts and Trivia about the Blobfish

  1. Its body is lighter than water because of which it can float effortlessly on the ocean beds.
  2. The Blob’s is made up of a gelatinous substance with a density lighter than water.
  3. No one has ever documented a live Blobfish as its natural environment are too harsh for anyone to reach. They live 4000 feet under the ocean and in extremely harsh conditions. 
  4. The Blob’s has no bones; it has only cartilages. 
  5. Blob’s teeth are non-existent; they suck their food sources and swallow them. 
  6. In its natural habitat, the Blobfish looks like a tadpole, but it looks like a blob when it reaches the surface of the water.
  7. The Blobfish do not have any swimming bladder, so they tend to float just above the ocean beds. 
  8.  Blobfish are loners. They do not move around in schools. However, the females choose to lay their eggs near each other, and they hover over the eggs till they hatch. 
  9. Its body is structured to adapt to the high pressure on the ocean floor.
  10. The Blobfish’s natural habitat is over 1000 meters below the surface of the oceans.
  11. Blobfish do not have any muscles.
  12. No one has ever seen a Blobfish eat.
  13. Blobfish are endemic to the coasts of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.
  14. Very little is known about the Blobfish. It is unknown whether it is endangered or not. 
  15. It was voted the Ugliest Animal in the World in 2013
  16. A Blobfish cannot be kept in a home aquarium as it cannot recreate its natural environment under any circumstances. 
  17. The Blobfish has also entered pop culture, and it has made its way into a composition written by Michael Hearst titled “Blobfish” that was released in 2012 in an album named Songs for Unusual Creatures.
  18. The Blobfish was also featured in the Men in Black 3 movie. It was a fitting place as it looks like an alien being out of the water. 
  19. The Blobfish plush has become a popular water animal plush toy among plush toy lovers. 
  20. No one has ever seen a Blob’s alive up close. The only way you can view a Blobfish alive is by watching the videos and pictures recorded by deep-sea rovers. 
  21. Blobfish has also gained popularity in social media circuits, and you will find lots of Blobfish memes circulating the various social media platforms. 

 

Blobfish FAQs

 

  • Why do Blobfish look the way they do?

 

In its natural habitat, the Blobfish looks the way a regular fish does. But its body is adapted to the high pressure of the ocean beds, which is about 120 times more than the pressure on dry land. This high pressure maintains the shape and structure of the Blob’s. 

When the Blob’s is taken out of its habitat, it experiences a rapid pressure drop, and it turns into a gooey, gelatinous mess. 

 

  • What do Blobfish eat?

Blob are omnivores and eat anything that floats near them on the ocean floor. But they do not hunt, and they are not predators. Their diet consists mainly of mollusks, shellfish, sea urchins, sea pen, crustaceans and other bottom dwellers. 

 

  • How many Blobfish are there in the World?

 

The exact number of Blob present in their natural habitat is unknown as these are marine animals that inhabit unchartered waters. But based on the limited research that has been done, it is estimated that there are only about 420 Blobfish that exist worldwide.

 

  • Are Blobfish edible?

 

Blob are extraordinarily acidic and gelatinous, and they are not edible by humans.

 

  • Where do Blobfish mostly live?

 

Blobfish inhabit the ocean beds near Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Japan and California. 

 

  • Why are Blobfish endangered?

 

Blobfish are victims of overfishing. Blobfish are not edible by humans, but the trawlers that go deep-sea fishing inadvertently catch the Blob’s as well as sweep the ocean beds. 

Although most anglers toss the Blobfish right back into the water, it is still too late. The Blobfish are already dead by the time they reach the surface of the ocean. It may lead to the extinction of the Blobfish if continued recklessly. 

 

  • Do Blobfish have genders?

 

Yes, Blobfish have genders. The females are slightly larger, and they lay thousands of eggs at a time. 

 Would a Blobfish bite?

 

Blobfish do not have teeth, so even if you do encounter a live one which is practically impossible, they would not bite you. 

 

  • Do Blobfish have hearts?

 

The circulatory system of the Blob’s is quite similar to the other bottom dwellers in the oceans. They have a single and closed circulatory system.

 

The blood is contained in the vessels, and it travels to the heart and then to the gills, where oxygen is absorbed. From the gills, the blood is circulated all over the body and then returns to the heart. 

 

  • Why is the Blobfish important?

 

Blobfish plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.

 

They maintain the population of several bottom dwellers, such as molluscs and crustaceans. As they eat most of the animals and whatever plant life is there in the ocean beds, they help keep the ocean floor clean. 

  • Are Blobfish real?

 

Blob’s are real, and although the only specimens found are dead ones, one of them famous as My Blobby can be viewed at the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection. 

 

Conclusion

 

The unique Blobfish may be the ugliest marine animal in the World, but it is gaining popularity and the interests of many marine life enthusiasts around the World. 

Its unique adaptations to the bottom of the oceans; its deformation when it is hauled out of the water; its habits and lifespan; its lifecycle, and its reproduction and conservation have become an exciting research topic for many around the World.