Once Again, the Global Assembly Convenes to Select the Blobfish
The Society sought an unsightly emblem, a champion representing all the unattractive creatures whose unappealing visages garner them less support than their cute and cuddly counterparts. As the Society aptly states, “The panda gets too much attention.”
However, while the cause may be noble, we believe the world has been rather harsh on our friend the blobfish (or, if you prefer to address him by his proper name—and he would greatly appreciate it if you would!—Psychrolutes marcidus).
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Frankly, considering all it’s been through, that droopy blobfish up there seems to be holding up quite well. Psychrolutes marcidus are deep-sea fish inhabiting the waters off the coast of Australia, residing somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 feet beneath the waves. Down there, the pressure is up to 120 times higher than at the surface. You wouldn’t want to be down there without an intense submarine. Similarly, the blobfish really doesn’t enjoy being up here.
Many fish possess something called a swim bladder, sacs of air in their bodies that aid them in moving around and maintaining buoyancy. When you remove fish with swim bladders from their natural habitats, those air sacs “may expand when they rise. Because of the expansion of their air sac, there is a risk that their insides will be pushed out through their mouth, thereby killing them.” (Emphasis added.)
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See what we mean about the blobfish doing okay?
The blobfish lacks a swim bladder, so its stomach gets to remain inside its body. But that doesn’t mean it’s holding up well in the atmosphere. The blobfish lacks a real skeleton and proper musculature. Consequently, up here, it appears saggy and droopy. Yet, without this specific makeup, at great depths, it would be deceased.
Henry Reich for MinuteEarth: “Unlike most other fish, those that inhabit these depths lack gas-filled cavities like swim bladders that would collapse under the extreme pressure. In fact, super-deep water fish often have minimal skeletons and jelly-like flesh, as the only way to combat the extreme pressure of deep water is to have water as your structural support.”
So, why do we think the world is too hard on the blobfish? Because if we placed you 4,000 feet below the water, your organs would be crushed, and you’d likely be turned into some sort of paste.