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What are some facts about the blobfish?

A:

Quick Answer

The blobfish is a cold-water fish, native to ocean waters around New Zealand and Australia. They are actually just one of several similar species known as fathead sculpins. The species' odd appearance is an adaptation for bottom-feeding near the sea floor.

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Full Answer

Blobfish are a member of the fathead sculpins, a group of fish with flabby, tadpole-like bodies. Despite the similar names, the blobfish is a different species from the blob sculpin, or Psychrolutes phrictus. The scientific name for the blobfish is Psychrolutes marcidus.

Outside of the high-pressure environment of the sea floor, the blobfish has a flabby, gelatinous appearance. They lack scales, and have loose skin, including a nose-like appendage that hangs over their large mouths. Blobfish are not well-studied, but scientists believe they drift above the sea floor, passively eating particles of food.

Because they live so deep under water, they lack swim bladders -- the organs would burst. Instead, they use fat for buoyancy. Their fatty bodies allow them to float in place, without having to expend energy by swimming.

A photograph of a blobfish captured in 2003 achieved viral popularity around the world, due to the fish's odd appearance. The specimen, nicknamed Mr. Blobby, now resides in the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection. It was caught during a scientific expedition, though blobfish are also sometimes caught as by-catch by commercial fishing trawlers.

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