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Howdy, Weird Gramma here with “WeirdFins,” all about strange stuff in the sea, and brought to you by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. My neighbor says she saw a picture of a fish called a blobfish that looks just like her Uncle Walter, and wonders if there are other kinds of blobfish that look like other people. Well, no, all blobfish look pretty much like my neighbor’s Uncle Walter. And it’s probably not a good idea to tell Uncle Walter that the blobfish belongs to a group of fishes called fatheads.
This is one of the funniest fish faces in the ocean, although you’re not likely to see a blobfish since they live in very deep water off Australia. In fact, it’s pretty rare for anyone to see blobfish, although they’re sometimes taken in nets hauled in by Australia’s deepwater fishing fleet. They really do look like a big, blobby tadpole, just a mass of pale, jelly-like flesh with puffy, loose skin, a big nose, and beady, staring eyes. But looking like a floppy water balloon is what actually helps the blobfish make a living. This guy just sort of floats above the sea floor so it doesn’t have to spend a lot of energy swimming around, sort of like when you float in the water wearing a life jacket.
Blobfish seem to grow only to about 12 inches, about as long as a comic book. No one has seen them feed, but scientists think blobfish probably just open that big mouth and let little particles drift in—this is not a critter built to chase down its food.
You can see pictures of blobfish on the National Marine Fisheries Service WeirdFins link at www.nmfs.noaa.gov.