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The blobfish quickly rose to popularity because of its relatable AF flabby frown. It's the oceanic version of Grumpy Cat.

But, it's also getting a totally bad rap, because blobfish aren't blobby underwater.


Blobfish belong to the fathead sculpin family (which, rude) and are deep-sea dwellers. Humans are used to seeing specimens that have been dragged from the bottom of the ocean in trawling nets. By the time they make it to the surface, they look completely different.

The most famous blobfish photo is of a 2003 specimen nicknamed Mr. Blobby.

Most people are used to seeing this picture — it's the one that won it the World's Ugliest Animal contest in 2013, according to Science News.

But, what if we were to show you this?

blobfish underwater Wikimedia Commons/Alan Riverstone McCulloch

Totally normal fish, right? Right.

See, blobfish live thousands of feet down in the sea. According to Earth Touch News, they have soft bones so that the pressure of the depths doesn't crack them. Seems smart.

They also don't have "swim bladders," aka ballasts, to keep them afloat, instead using their own jelly-like flesh to stay upright. But this really only works when the pressure is holding them together.

Bring them to the surface in a fishing net, and they deflate, unable to adjust to the pressure change.

"When the fish is dead all the gel relaxes because it's not in water anymore and it's not buoyant any more," said marine ecologist Dr. Alan Jamieson to the Telegraph. "It's now in air and that's why it looks so sad and squished and blobby."

They become ... Mr. Blobby.

blobfish underwater


Fun fact: Not even Mr. Blobby is all that blobby anymore. Over a decade in preservative alcohol has "tightened" its skin and "shrunk" its nose, per the Australian Museum.

There actually aren't a lot of blobfish specimens in the world, and deep-sea sightings even rarer. But on one of its recent dives, the crew of the deep-sea submarine E/V Nautilus spotted a blob sculpin, which is related to the blobfish.

The blob sculpin takes on a blobby look above the surface like its blobfish relative.

blobfish underwater Wikimedia Commons/NOAA

But in its natural habitat it looks normal.

blobfish underwater


These blobs and blobfishes may look "ugly" at the surface of the water, but literally deep down, they're doing just fine.

blobfish underwater


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