Meet the blobfish: The newly crowned 'ugliest animal in the world'

Chris Gayomali
The Week

Say hi to my new spirit animal.

(NORFANZ Founding Parties)

This is the blobfish, a squishy and endangered deep sea creature that floats in the waters off the coast of Australia. It has recently been given the illustrious distinction as "the world's ugliest animal" by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a collaborative effort between the British Science Association and the National Science + Engineering Competition, which is dedicated to "raising the profile of some of Mother Nature's more aesthetically challenged children."

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The blobfish's gelatinous flesh is a nifty adaption that helps the 12-inch fish stay afloat just above the sea floor without having to move or expend energy, "sort of like when you float in the water wearing a lifejacket," as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes it.

Unfortunately, the blobfish's low kinetic output, coupled with overfishing (it's not edible), have caused the blobfish's numbers to dwindle. "We've needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I've been amazed by the public's reaction," says Simon Watt of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. "For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten."

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The blobfish beat out a handful of other funny looking endangered animals, including the kakapo — a large, flightless parrot:

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An aquatic salamander called the axolotl, which has a large goofy grin:

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And the long-nosed proboscis monkey:

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(H/T: NPR, CNN)

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