Blobfish voted world’s ugliest creature
British Science Festival announces result of public vote on most aesthetically challenged specimens
Blob Fish was voted the world’s ugliest creature.
It may be no oil painting but that is precisely the reason the blobfish, a ball of slime that lives at the bottom of the ocean, has been crowned the world’s ugliest creature.
In the first global conservation competition of its kind, the aesthetically challenged fish, which cuts a sad looking figure, was announced as the winner this morning at the British Science Festival.
The campaign to find the animal was run by the Ugly Animals Preservation Society (uglyanimalsociety.com) to raise awareness of the conservation of mother nature’s less-than-attractive endangered species.
“Two hundred species go extinct every day,” said biologist Simon Watt at the unveiling of the blobfish. “We can’t afford to be so myopic, dull and boring in what we find ‘attractive’ as a species,” he said.
Members of the public voted for ‘election campaign videos’ made by well-known scientists and comedians in favour of their favourite ugly animal.
Over 100,000 people viewed the films over the last two weeks and voting closed last night.
“We hoped people would get the irony and comedy of the campaign,” said Mr Watt.
“But the conservation of these important species is something we can’t overlook.”
The blobfish has a jelly-on-a-plate appearance due to its complete lack of muscle tone was described as “the ultimate deep-sea couch potato” since they rarely move, instead floating close to the sea floor.
The animal, which lives in deep water off Australia, was suffering from “severe problems”, said Mr Watt. “We don’t eat them but they are being brought up by trawling.”
“Virtually nothing is known about the blob fish and only one scientific publication exists on it,” said Dr Anne-Marie Power of NUI Galway’s school of natural sciences.
“Humans rarely came into contact with blobfish, Psychrolutes marcidus, in the past but this is changing with trawling and more sophisticated shipping.”
It is also likely that they mature late in life and “may not breed until they are perhaps 25 years old”, said Dr Power.
“This makes them extremely vulnerable to over-fishing.”
Their ecological role is also unknown, but they are likely to be an important source of nutrition in the deep sea where food is extremely scarce.
Other animals in the final vote included the greater short-horned lizard, which was championed by broadcaster Stephen Fry. The lizard uses its eyeball as a gory water pistol to shoot blood at its predators.
It was a close-run race between the blobfish and the second-placed ugly animal, the Kakapo parrot. The axolotl, described as “the Peter Pan of the salamanders” because it “never grows up” was voted into third place.
Bringing up the rear were the scrotum water frog in fourth place, which lives in Lake Titticaca, and the endangered Probiscos monkey in fifth.
“Every species is an ongoing evolutionary experiment and needs attention,” said Mr Watt.
This is not the end of the project. It will now be followed by an ugly animal roadshow to get as many people involved as possible.