Which fish can we call the ugliest in the world? This is, of course, a tongue-in-cheek question, as every creature on earth has a purpose and is beautiful in its own way. However, if we were to point out which is the ugliest fish in the world, I have two candidates here.
We as humans like to classify everything according to our standards. Tasty or not, useful or not useful and, of course, pretty or ugly. The problem is that such a qualification is very subjective. And so my types for the ugliest fish in the world do not have to suit you at all. Well, but let’s play finger-pointing today.
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Ugliest fish in the world – Blobfish
Let’s start with number one on my list for ugliest fish, namely Blobfish. Blobfish or more precisely Psychrolutes Marcidus, is a species that lives at great depths and is rarely seen. What is apparent at first glance, however, is its strong resemblance to …. Jabba the Hut from Star Wars.
One must admit that it does indeed look “interesting”. The majority of voters in the World’s Ugliest Animal contest, organized by The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, were of a similar opinion. Blobfish easily won the contest and was awarded the title of the ugliest animal in the world! This is a title that will be hard to take away…
However, let’s take a little closer look at this fish and what it’s really all about. This fish must have adapted to living at depths of 600m to 1,200m below sea level, where there is very high pressure, so its bones are extremely soft and its body and muscles are flaccid. Thanks to this body structure, the creature is able to maintain its shape in conditions that would crush shallow-water and land animals, but this changes when it is quickly pulled to the surface.
Blobfish is not ugly at all!
So, we have declared the Blobfish to be the ugliest fish in the world, but… This is not entirely true. And I would say that under normal conditions this fish looks quite normal. What we see in all those pictures on the Internet, and in the one below as well, is just the Blobfish as we know it.
The issue of this fish’s appearance and the conditions under which the photos were taken was brought to the attention by Russell Arnott, a marine researcher at the University of Bath. In an interview with U.S. Newsweek, he stated that it was the pull to the surface that caused the fish to look this way. In other words, lowering the ambient pressure by 120 atmospheres caused the fish’s tissues to burst.
Life at great depths
Arnott also explained that the first photo was taken at a depth of 900 meters, and the second was taken after the creature was violently pulled to the surface by fishermen, leading to the destruction of its tissues. Why did this happen? The animal must have adapted to life at a depth of 600 meters to 1,200 meters below sea level, where there is very high pressure, which has a great impact on organisms living at that depth.
For this reason, the creature’s bones are extremely soft, and its body and muscles are flaccid. Thanks to this body structure, the fish is able to maintain its shape and swim in conditions that would crush shallow-water and land animals. However, this changes when it is quickly pulled to the surface, because its tissues then rapidly expand, as happened to the specimen in the popular photo. The whole thing shows how little we still know about life in the deep seas.
The second ugliest fish in the world
My second candidate for being the ugliest fish is the Goblin Shark. The long snout and beak-like nose make the goblin shark look like a real sea monster.
Similar to the Blobfish mentioned earlier, the goblin shark is a creature that lives at great depths, usually less than 100m below sea level. Some researchers report that this species can submerge up to 1,300m (4,270ft). Truly admirable!
Appearance of the ugliest fish
Goblin sharks prefer deep, warm and temperate waters as their habitat. Often their territory begins at a depth of at least two hundred meters. Literally just under the beak-like outgrowth of the goblin shark there is a mouth with a large number of small sharp teeth. But only three columns of teeth are functioning. This is the most recognizable sign of the world’s ugliest fish.
The structure of the goblin shark’s teeth allows it to tear apart its potential victim or inflict deep wounds. Potentially, the goblin shark can be dangerous to humans. However, it is so rare that you are unlikely to ever encounter one while scuba diving.
This shark is virtually impossible to keep in captivity, so the chances that you will see it with your own eyes are virtually none. A few live specimens have been collected and brought to public aquariums, but they lived a very short time. One was kept at Tokai University and lived for a week, and another at Tokyo Sea Life Park and lived for two days.
Ugliest fish in the world – let’s recap
As you can see, I have given here two species of fish that we would probably wrongly like to call the ugliest fish in the world. And despite the humorous nature of this text, the truth is that we still know very little about the ocean and its inhabitants.
How is it possible that a simple organism evolved into a form that can withstand such extreme pressure? Pressure that we humans find hard to conquer even with modern technology. How is it possible that we want to explore other planets but have not yet learned enough about our own?
The first time you jump underwater with scuba gear, you’ll realize that there’s still a lot to discover. So, maybe you will be the next explorer?