Image: Blobfish, Psychrolutes (aka Mr Blobby)
- Kerryn Parkinson
- © NORFANZ Founding Parties
The scientists and crew on board the RV Tangaroa affectionately called this fish 'Mr Blobby'. The fish's body is flabby and not adapted to be out of water! The yellowish 'blob' on the right side of Mr Blobby's mouth is a parasitic copepod.
Mr Blobby is psychrolutid fish (family Psychrolutidae). Fishes in this family are called the blobfishes or fathead sculpins. They are found in marine waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans at depths between 100 m and 2800 m. The common name 'fathead sculpin' refers to the large, globular head and 'floppy' skin that is typical of these fishes. Little is known of their biology. Some have been found with gastropods in the stomach.
The fish now resides in the Australian Museum Ichthyology Collection. It was initially fixed in formaldehyde and is now preserved in 70% ethyl alcohol. The fixation process has 'tightened' Mr Blobby's skin so his 'nose' has shrunk and he no longer retains his 'cute' look.
- Nelson, J.S. 1999. Psychrolutidae. Fathead sculpins. Carpenter, K.E & V.H. Niem (ed). pp 2422-2524, 4 figs In The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 4.. FAO species identification guide for Fishery purposes. FAO. Pp. 2069-2790.
- Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World (Edition 4). John Wiley & Sons. Pp. 601.
- Paxton, J.R. & W.N. Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press . Pp. 240. (Also editions in French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish; 2cd ed. 1998).