The blobfish, a deep-sea species rarely seen but which bears a passing resemblance to that fishy politician Cyril Smith, has been voted the world’s ugliest animal. It inhabits the waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania.
In a campaign run by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society to decide its new mascot (the Society was set up to raise awareness about endangered and aesthetically challenged animals), the blobfish attracted 795 out of more than 3,000 votes.
Simon Watt, the society’s president, said: “We’ve needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I’ve been amazed by the public’s reaction. For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight, but now the blobfish will be a voice for those that always get forgotten.”
With 200 species becoming extinct every day, the Society says ugly animals need more help because of their less than appetizing appearance.
Blobfish live at depths between 600 and 1,200 metres where the pressure is dozens of times higher than at sea level. The flesh of the blobfish is basically a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water, which allows it to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. It swallows edible matter that floats in range, eating invertebrates such as crabs and soft corals called sea pens.
No one wants to eat the blobfish and it just goes to show that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder: