Deep-sea blob sculpin (Psychrolutes phrictus), Davidson Seamount (1317 m depth). The blob sculpin was first captured in the late 1960s off California; but not scientifically named until 1978. Largest specimens are often marked with rings that may be from squid or octopus tentacle sucker marks. Blob sculpins are opportunistic feeders; most commonly eating sea pens; snails; and crabs.
The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is a deep sea fish of the family Psychrolutidae. Inhabiting the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, it is rarely seen by humans. Blobfish live at depths between 600–1,200 m (2,000–3,900 ft) where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient for maintaining buoyancy.
Instead, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats in front of it. Blobfish eat invertebrates like crabs and sea pens. Blobfish can be caught by bottom trawling with nets as bycatch. Such trawling in the waters off Australia may threaten the blobfish in what may be its only habitat.The blobfish is currently facing extinction due to deep-sea fishing or bottom trawling.
With a face only another blob sculpin could love, this P. phrictus swam up to take a look at the camera on MBARI’s remotely operated vehicle Tiburon. This image was taken while Tiburon was exploring a submarine canyon off the coast of Big Sur, about 2,000 m (6,600 ft) below the sea surface. Blob sculpin grow to about 60 cm (2 ft) long and are shaped like large, flabby tadpoles. They eat crabs, sea pens, and other small animals that live on the seafloor. MBARI researchers have seen groups of blob sculpin brooding nests of eggs on undersea ridges off the coast of Northern California.
The aptly-named Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is now in danger of being wiped out. The bloated bottom dweller, which can grow up to 12 inches, lives at depths of up to 900m making it rarely seen by humans. But thanks to increasing fishing of the seas Down Under, the fish is being dragged up with other catches. Despite being inedible, the blobfish unluckily lives at the same depths as other more appetizing ocean organisms, including crab and lobster.
Blobfish: world’s most ‘miserable looking’ marine animal facing exinction
Scientists fear the blobfish, which can grow up to 12 inches, is in danger of being wiped out by over-fishing in its south eastern Australian habitat. The fish, which lives at depths of up to 800m, is rarely seen by humans but it lives at the same depths as other ocean organisms, such as crabs and lobsters and other edible sea creatures.
As a result the fish, which is inedible, is being dragged up with other catches by trawler fishermen. Marine expert Professor Callum Roberts, from University of York, said the blobfish had plenty to be miserable about.
Prof Roberts, who wrote the book “The Unnatural History of the Sea”, said: “Blobfish are very vulnerable to being dragged up in these nets and from what we know this fish is only restricted to these waters…