Blob sculpins, also known as blob fish, are perhaps the strangest-looking creatures of the marine world. These strange animals live in the deepest waters of the sea, so it is very unlikely for hobby divers and snorkeling enthusiasts to come into contact with them, but, nevertheless, they are among the most peculiar creatures that have ever dwelled the salty waters.
Blob fish live mainly in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean, in the area stretching from Southern California to the Bering Sea, but there are a few individuals living around Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania as well. They are mostly found at depths between 600 – 2,800 m, but it is believed that they inhabit much deeper waters as well.
Blob fish live in an unfriendly environment of almost complete darkness, where water temperature never rises above 10 degrees C (50 F) and pressure is unbearable for humans and for most animals as well. Given these harsh circumstances, the body of the blob fish is structured in a way to be able to endure the conditions of the world around. Its body is of very low density, which makes it look completely different when it is in its natural environment and is under the pressure of the water and when it is out of the water and decompressed. There is not a single muscle in its entire body and no bone either, which also increases its capacity to live in a high-pressure environment, but makes them unable to swim.
The blob fish has been repeatedly voted the ugliest animal on Earth and, indeed, when it is out of the water, it looks like a mass of jelly, with small eyes, a large, unsightly nose and loose skin. Though it has been very rarely observed in its natural environment, it is believed that the blob sculpin is quite fish-shaped down under, with a large head and large lips, a flattened tail and grayish skin that is covered in scales ending in small spikes.
The blob fish has no gas bladder – it would not resist the special conditions. It stays buoyant because its body’s density is similar to the density of the water. They are relatively large, usually about 70 cm long, the largest individuals reaching the weight of almost 10 kg.
Being unable to swim, these animals just float in the water, feeding on the food particles that come their way. They primarily feed on tiny invertebrates such as sea pens, sea urchins and other tiny crustaceans.
Very little is known about the mating habits of these strange animals. According to some experts, females lay several thousand eggs, sometimes even tens of thousands, in nests they make on the sea floor. Then, the parents take turns sitting on the eggs until the eggs hatch. Blob sculpins are known to be solitary animals, but divers have occasionally found large colonies, some consisting of more than 60 nests and with some of the nests containing more than 100 thousand eggs.