Its saggy pink skin, grumpy face and jelly-like appearance may not be easy on the eyes, but the blobfish has won its way into someone’s heart.
The fish, which is rarely seen by humans, has been voted the world’s ugliest animal by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. The society launched an online campaign looking for a mascot, and on Thursday the blobfish was crowned the winner.
"Our traditional approach to conservation is egotistical," Simon Watt, president of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, told BBC News about the reasons behind the campaign. "We only protect the animals that we relate to because they're cute, like pandas.”
Physicist turned TV presenter Brian Cox agrees. "There are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention. Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals, so I think it is a superb campaign."
The blobfish, which lives off the coast of Australia, is threatened by overfishing, the Telegraph reports. The grumpy-looking fish lives at depths of up to 2,600 feet, where edible creatures like crabs and lobsters live. At times, the blobfish get caught in fishermen’s nets.
"Blobfish are very vulnerable to being dragged up in these nets, and from what we know this fish is only restricted to these waters,” Professor Callum Roberts said. "A very large amount of the deep sea is under threat from bottom trawling, which is one of the most destructive forms of fishing."
The fish’s gelatinous body is slightly denser than water, allowing it to bob around in the ocean. The blobfish feed on crabs and lobsters, and are inedible for humans.
The blobfish, or Psychrolutes marcidus, beat out other ugly contenders including the kakapo, the axolotl and the "scrotum," water frog to win the top title by almost 10,000 votes.
The kakapo came in second place. Described a “rubbish parrot,” the bird is native to New Zealand. It’s the world’s only flightless parrot with no natural predators, but its habitat has been decimated, making its numbers drop to critical levels. But the ugly bird’s dwindling numbers weren’t enough to win the grand prize.
“For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight, but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten,” Watt said.