Stop Hatin’ On the Blobfish

Across the internets a movement is surfacing.  Its nothing short of a smear campaign.  Across the web it is becoming fashionable to hate on the blobfish.

Neatorama…Back in 2006, we blogged about Mr. Blobby, the ugliest fish ever

John Kaus at the Chicago Tribune and LA Times…With its humanlike face, the blobfish is a creature of nightmares and who knows what terrors it could bring upon us…Its hideously deformed body is quite boneless, a gelatinous orb hovering in the deep, covered in slime and mucus. But there’s something even worse. Its face.

Metro…the the ocean’s saddest little gelatinous lump, the Blobfish

Mail Online…the world’s most miserable-looking fish

The smears start with the name, blobfish. Why can we not use the more preferable Australian Sculpin or Toadfish for this deep dweller?  Even the Smooth-Head Blobfish would be better.  Better yet, can we all use its scientific name, Psychrolutes marcidus (Greek, psychrolouteo = to have a cold bath)?

Miserable, sad, ugly, evil?  Hardly!  This sweet little fish is the product of millions of years of evolutionary fine tuning!

Fish with bladders would fair poorly in the deep depths (600-1200m, ~2000-4000ft) of Australia and Tasmania where our friend dwells.  The gelatinous appearance everyone seems soooo critical of is a brilliant adaptation allowing this fish to be slightly less dense than water.  This slight positive buoyancy allows P. marcidus to hover over the seafloor without expending energy, a huge advantage in the food poor deep sea.

Psychrolutes marcidus may be no muscular tuna but that relative lack of muscle is o’ so advantageous.  Muscle tissue consumes a lot of energy.  Why have it?  Why even swim or move if you don’t need to?  Why not just wait for your food to float by?

And where did that photo come from used all over the internet?  Worst picture ever! This pictures looks a like a mug shot taken Sunday morning after Psychrolutes marcidus went binge drinking across the town, smoked 5 packs of Marlboro reds, hadn’t showered in 48 hours, and got arrested for public nudity.  How about the lovely video below instead?

We at DSN ask the rest of the internet community to cease and desist in the slander of the Psychrolutes marcidus. We at DSN herald the Blobfish (your term not ours) as the elegantly adapted creature it is, a product of its environment.  So don’t hate the player…hate the game.

Maybe if more of us appreciated the blobfish it wouldn’t be threatened.

P.S. Crocheted blobfish coolest thing ever…me wanty!

Dr. M (1605 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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4 comments on “Stop Hatin’ On the Blobfish
  1. Pingback: Stop Hatin’ On the Blobfish | Halibut Herald

  2. Pingback: Deep Sea Tweets for February 21st, 2010 | Deep Sea News

  3. very nice article – there is no reason to hate these less attractive fish. I happen to fancy seeing sculpin, cabezon and lingcod while diving more than other prettier fish, even the clingfish, although the Blobfish is in a class of it’s own. And is that a shrimp next to the Blobfish in the video?

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