Blobfish

by Allan Riverstone McCulloch

by Allan Riverstone McCulloch

The Blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, is a rare deep sea fish that can be found mainly off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. Many of the unique features of the Blobfish are due to its adaptation to their specialized habitat. Residing in deep depths of the sea of 600 – 1200 meters, the Blobfish have adapted to a habitat with continuous pressure of 80 times higher than normal sea level. In such conditions, bones of a normal creature would be crushed and gas bladders would prove inefficient. Thus, the Blobfish have adapted with a body structure consisting of mainly gelatinous mass and relative lack of muscle. In fact, this adaptive body structure allows the Blobfish to float in the depths of the sea with very little energy expenditure since its flesh is only slightly denser than water. Blobfish size is approximately 30 cm in length characterized by a large head that tapers back into a small flat tail. As a predator of the deep sea, the Blobfish prey on other invertebrates by ambush and foraging. Blobfish diet includes sea crabs, sea urchins, shellfish and mollusks. Blobfish reproduction was first recorded in 2000 on the Gorda Escarpment near the coast of California. The reproductive activity consisted of groups of Blobfish nests with approximately 100,000 eggs each. These pink colored eggs in the nest were tended by brooding Blobfish. 

Unfortunately, Blobfish are endangered and is facing near extinction. Real threats to the Blobfish include deep-sea fishing and bottom trawling in their specialized habitat. When exposed to air for a period of time, Blobfish will shrivel up and die. Although the Blobfish is not edible, they are still being caught and dragged up with other marketable fish and invertebrates. Scientists are aware of the endangered state of the Blobfish along with other deep sea creatures. Thus, conservationists are showing efforts to save the Blobfish by proposing restrictions on bottom trawling in certain areas.

Kerryn Parkinson © NORFANZ Founding Parties

Kerryn Parkinson © NORFANZ Founding Parties

Posted on May 1, 2013 and filed under Saltwater Fish.