19 February, 2010

The Blobfish or the Blob Sculpin

The Blobfish or Blob Sculpin
Not many of us will ever set our eyes on this rather lazy, slow moving creature: the Blobfish, also known as the Australian Sculpin or Toadfish - scientific name: Psychrolutes marcidus . Except in pictures. Because they live in oceans, deep underwater. The problem is that the blobfish lives at depths of 600 to 1,200m (1,970-3,940 ft). Instead of using a swim bladder to maintain buoyancy, he has gelatinous flesh that is slightly less dense than water, allowing him to float just above the sea floor. It probably doesn't look so bad down there, but up here he looks a little melty and... splat.. Mainly off the cost of Australia and Tasmania. For most of us: few creatures come as ugly as the blobfish. Most likely, the few fishermen who get to catch them in their nests while fishing must think they must have caught some alien. But: stop hating the Toadfish. It is a product of its environment; it is due to its brilliant adaptation allowing this fish to be slightly less dense than water.  This slight positive buoyancy allows P. marcidus to hover over the seafloor without expending energy, a huge advantage in the food poor deep sea.

The Blobfish or Blob Sculpin
Unfortunately for these very harmless, very unattractive fish, which out of water - looks more like a ball of jelly-like, slime; which plucks its food around it as it lazily floats, deep under water; and though we do not eat them, they are in danger of being wiped out. By who else? Man. This amazing fish,, 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.

For it to live at such very difficult, extreme surroundings where pressure would be about eighty times greater than at sea levels - the blobfish has the special features that allows for this: it doesn't have a swim bladder; it doesn't have any muscles; and its body is less dense than water. The blobfish is very rarely active and simply floats - swallowing food that passes by. Whatever we think of the blobfish, we have to respect its unique shape; we have to respect its living so deep underwater where the pressure is so high that each bone of any other normal creature would easily explode; we have to respect the low density of his gelatinous mass which can float above the sea bottom. We have to respect the way it gets its food: as it’s a very weak muscular fish that needs to spare its energy, it actually waits for its pray to come close enough to attack. We have to respect this very extraordinary, one-of-a-kind creature. We have to do all we can and protect the amazing blobfish and allow it to thrive.

More on the Blob Fish: ItsNature, Helium, Ezine Articles, Blob Fish Facts, Wikipedia, Telegraph, MSN, Kottke

Image: Google

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