I write books. Sometimes.

A Brief Discussion of the Blobfish

by WillHB
Tue, Jun 15, 2021
Read time: 1 min.

I would like to take a moment to discuss the blobfish, or the Psychrolutes marcidus.

From Wikimedia Commons.  Not Kirby.  I'd use a photo, but I don't want to pay for the rights.

From Wikimedia Commons. Not Kirby. I'd use a photo, but I don't want to pay for the rights.

The most famous photo of Mr. Blobby dates back to 2003, and has been meme-ified ever since thanks to the unique aesthetic that won it “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013, and occasionally due to a supposed passing resemblance to Ted Cruz. As far as that goes, I would like to point out that, regardless of your politics, that sort of attack on someone’s physical appearance is a rather unkind thing to do to a fish.

That “World’s Ugliest Animal” win, however, somewhat warrants an asterisk. The fact is that…well…they don’t actually look like that. The blobfish is a deep sea fish, and its body is highly adapted to the extreme pressure of that environment. And, if you were to, say, trap a blobfish in a net and abruptly haul it up to the surface, it would kind of…er…melt. But before that happens, it just sort of looks like a fish:

Also from Wikimedia Commons.  The pockets aren't getting any deeper here.

Also from Wikimedia Commons. The pockets aren't getting any deeper here.

So saying it’s the “World’s Ugliest Animal” is a little unfair, since when you mock the blobfish, you’re really just laughing at its mangled corpse. On the whole, this is a lot like if an alien race accidentally threw a human into a wood chipper, then made snarky comments about how ugly it was and named us all the “spaghetti monkey.”

Not that name calling would necessarily be our highest priority at this point, but it’s still not ideal.

In sum, I’d argue that the crown should’ve gone to a more deserving candidate, such as the nightmare fuel incarnate that is the anglerfish:

Shown: Ted Cruz.  Again, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Shown: Ted Cruz. Again, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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