Image: A Western Blobfish on the North West Shelf
A psychrolutid fish, most likely a Western Blobfish, Psychrolutes occidentalis, photographed by an ROV, at a depth of approximately 1220 m, 70 km off Barrow Island, North West Shelf, Western Australia.
- SEA SERPENT
- © SEA SERPENT
With support from Chevron Australia Pty Ltd and the Joint Venturers - Shell Development (Australia) Pty Ltd, Mobil Australia Resources Company Pty Ltd and BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd.
Thank you to Dr Joseph Nelson for identifying the fish.
The species was described by Dr Ron Fricke in 1990. When asked for comments about this page, Ron replied: " Interesting photograph. This represents a new depth record (the species was originally described from 350-740 m depth). But I agree with the identification as Psychrolutes occidentalis Fricke, 1990. Very nice photographic quality for an ROV picture, but the Psychrolutes wouldn't move much anyway; they are supposed to be sluggish and slow moving, as they have soft, mostly catilaginous, decalcified bones."
The fish looks similar to the Smooth-head Blobfish, Psycholutes marcidus, which occurs off eastern Australia. The famous Mr Blobby, Psychrolutes sp., may in fact be a Smooth-head Blobfish.
Fricke, R. 1990. A new species of psychrolutid fish from Western Australia. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology. 36(4): 404-409.