Friday 2 March 2012

Blobfish Sculpin

Do you remember the poor, old Blobfish and how it was fished up and left on a counter to collapse like a gigantic mound of wet tissue paper? Well then check out their close relative, the Blobfish Sculpin! This is what that soft, gelatinous body looks like when it's supported by the appropriate water pressure. It's as if the entire ocean was one, big girdle.

The Blobfish Sculpin is Psychrolutes phrictus, a member of the same genus as the Blobfish and an occupant of similarly deep waters. They come from the North Pacific - Japan, up to the Bering Sea and down to California, at depths of 840 m (2,750 ft) to 2,800 m (9,200 ft).

They reach 60 cm (2 ft) in length and have the same kind of flabby body that is so common in the deep sea, but it doesn't stop them from living a full and active life. Interests include eating small creatures like crabs and sea pens and sitting around near their eggs. OK, so it's more on the side of "playing football games on the couch" than "going out and playing football", but it's still an activity right? Right!

And it's definitely interesting that Blobfish Sculpins really have been seen brooding their eggs. There were loads of them in one particular area, with lots of octopus around doing the same thing. It was like a deep sea mothers-to-be group.

No-one is quite sure why these areas are so attractive, but it may have something to do with the local amenities. No, not shops or babysitters, just cold seeps, where hydrocarbon-rich fluids ooze out from the sea floor. You might be thinking that you'd swap hydrocarbon fluids for a good nappy changing machine any day, but these Blob Sculpins had nests containing tens of thousands of eggs. The stuff must be good for something!

We have to remember that we're still talking about Blobfish. Pull 'em up and slap 'em on a counter and you will be greeted by what appears to be an unhappy internal organ.

Just remember that in the deep sea, YOU are the fish out of water. Keep that submersible locked tight. You don't want to be exposed to Blobfish water pressure, or your internal organs will be very unhappy, indeed.


TexWisGirl said...

i feel like that fish looks... :)

Anonymous said...

The photo of blobfish on a counter is priceless!

Joseph JG said...

@TexWisGirl: :)... or is it :(?

@Chloë Langley: The ravages of gravity!