Blobfish is a highly mysterious species with an equally unpleasant appearance. It is just another fathead featuring a large head and comparatively small body. In 2013, Blobfish titled the world’s ugliest creature.
However, looks don’t matter much when your habitat is 800-1200 meters below sea level. You can expect a pressure of over 1000 pounds on every inch of your body at such depths, whereas the pressure we experience at sea level is 14.7 pounds per inch.
You’d be wondering, can a living being even survive at such high pressure. The answer is yes; Blobfish is adapted to such a habitat due to its unique morphology. This guide from the fishinaquarium will tell some facts about Blobfish underwater survival.
How Blobfish survive underwater
To live in an insanely high-pressure environment is not easy. It can crush your bones and even teeth, making you a meatball. So how does a Blobfish underwater lives?
Like other deep-sea fish, Blobfish has distinct anatomy than other fish (fish in shallower water). Blobfish do not possess a single bone or muscle in their body. Furthermore, they don’t even have scales on their body although they have loose baggy skin. They feature a large globular head that accounts for 40% of their body weight.
Their body is made up of lumpy substance with a density slightly lower than the water, which hovers over the sea bed. Moreover, Blobfish are entirely harmless to humans because they don’t have teeth. Their bodies don’t need bones to survive because the depths’ squashing pressure provides their bodies with all the support they need to exist there.
For survival, the blobfish float right above the ocean floor, keeping its mouth open to capture its food. Due to the absence of muscle, it can’t swim swiftly, so that’s why it stays in its place and wait for prey to come inside its mouth. Maybe that’s why they have such big heads. Blobfish is a carnivore, and the diet of Blobfish mainly consists of crustaceans such as crabs, shellfish, microscopic bacteria, sea pens, lobsters, molluscs, and sea urchins that happen to come in its mouth.
Blobfish live a pretty stress-free life; all they need to do in their life is eat and hatch. They can grow upto 30 cm, but their body growth is too slow, that’s why they can live over 100 years.
Numerous females blobfish often nest near one another and lay thousands of eggs;
they guard them until the eggs hatch. Scientists are still attempting to find out why Blobfish seem to nest together. One research suggests that the fish come together in regions with sinking water, which generates a steady stream of slightly warmer water with lots of food.
Can a blobfish survive out of water?
We humans can not survive in the insane pressure of deep oceans. Likewise, Blobfish can’t stay alive in our conditions.
Most fish have an air-filled swim bladder inside their body that makes it easy for them to swim around and stay buoyant. When you take such fish out of their natural habitats, their swim bladder may expand, which push their internal organs out of their mouth, and hence they die. But swim bladder can be dangerous for deep-sea creatures because extreme pressure can collapse it.
Therefore, Blobfish doesn’t have a swim bladder, so their insides don’t come out when brought out of the ocean. But it doesn’t mean a blobfish stays stable in our atmosphere.
The pressure is so extreme up to 120 times higher in depths than it is at sea level. Their body is designed to live in such conditions; infact, high pressure makes them look like a fish. While at normal pressures,
the anatomy that works well in the depths fails, and Blobfish appear as a gelatinous mass and die instantly. That is the reason why they are hardly pictured alive because they can even survive in shallower water.
They can not be kept as house pets because aquariums can not provide such harsh conditions Blobfish are compatible with.
Threats to their survival
We don’t know that much about the present population of Blobfish; however, some scientists believe that this species is in danger of extinction. As Blobfish live so deep under the water, they are not hunted by any creature; that’s why they are safe from predators, as far as scientists know.
The only major threat to their population is humans. Many of them die as a result of the accidental entrapment in the fishing nets. They got caught unintentionally because humans don’t eat them. That’s because it is just a pile of fat due to its body structure; they are tasteless fish with no muscle on them than you can chew.
This unusual species is very rare and currently categorized as endangered. Blobfish spends its whole life just above the ocean floor. Being caught in the trawling nets is always lethal for this fish; it loses its shape and dies when taken out of the water due to a rapid drop of pressure.
Some fishermen throw them back in the ocean in an attempt to spare their lives because Blobfish is not the type of fish that fishermen look for. But you to their unusual appearance and body formation, it is unknown whether they can survive long enough to get back to the deep ocean after losing so much water pressure.
Although Blobfish don’t have bones, the intense pressure provides the structural support needed to survive down there. They can’t survive in lower pressure areas. Additionally, it cannot hunt the meal, but it manages to get its food due to its largemouth. Scientists believe that Blobfish is on the verge of extinction, and their numbers are decreasing rapidly due to accidental entrapment in trawling nets.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Bengaluru Bytes journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.