The Sad Tale of the Blob Fish
Off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania, around 2,000 to 3,900 feet under the sea, this sad little guy floats along the ocean floor. Mother Nature has not been very kind to him, or at least didn't put much thought into his design. In 2013, the Blob Fish was voted the "worlds ugliest animal" and was used as the mascot for the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.
The Blob Fish doesn't always look this hideous, only out of water. With it's skin (can you even call it that?) floating around the rest of it's body, and not pulled down as much by gravity, the fish takes on a more attractive appearance (shown above). However, there aren't any actual photographs of this animal in it's natural habitat, due to the depth. Only scientific sketches of what it should theoretically look like exist.
This unlucky fish came to look so ugly primarily because of it's lack of a gas-bladder (shown above). A gas-bladder is a gas filled organ present in many fish. It allows them to float and maintain their water depth without having to constantly swim. Unfortunately, the fish we are studying does not have one. Instead, it has a gelatinous flesh that is just less dense than water, letting it float along the sea floor. Because it doesn't really need to swim, it has hardly any muscles, which isn't much of a handicap because it eats whatever edible small things float by it's mouth.
Scientists are worried that the Blob Fish may become an endangered species, due to a type of fishing called bottom trawling, a process in which a large net is dragged along the bottom of the sea, catching any fish that wander into it. Blob Fish are seldomly intentionally caught, but they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It would be a shame for this interesting fish to go extinct, even if it was by accident, it would still have been a result of human interference, as many extinctions have been. If this fish could think, it seems like it would turn out to be either a gentleman, or a very lovable character.