It has downturned, disappointed lips, like it was pulled unawares from a nap and made to pose for a photograph. Its nose is dropping and dribbling. So is its pinkish body, like a wad of oozing gelatin.
This is the blobfish, and it is the world’s ugliest animal, according to a contest put on by the British Ugly Animal Preservation Society, which aims to place nature’s less captivating animals into the limelight.
Most of the poster children for the world’s endangered species fall into two categories. One is the cute animal, like harp seals, the floppy mammals that seem to beg, “play with me,” with their happy, round eyes, or panda bears, which look eternally placid. Then there is the dangerous animal, the wild carnivore that panders to the Freudian id. That grouping includes the toothy shark and the enthralling tiger, predators that pull disappearing acts into the environments that are their kingdoms.
The animals that rack up the big bucks for environmentalist efforts are not, usually, the saggy ones, or the smelly ones, or the slimy ones.
But the Ugly Animal Preservation Society hopes to change that.
“The Ugly Animal Preservation Society is dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children,” according to the website. “The panda gets too much attention.”
For months, the group has hosted comedy shows where comedians tout the finer points of under-appreciated animals, lofting signs that praise the slug, the flightless dung beetle, and the proboscis monkey and its prodigious (those with kinder hearts might say Cleopatra-like) snout.
After that, the group put the animals up for an online, public vote. Which animal was worthy of the grand insult, the world’s ugliest animal, as well as the possible boon in conservationist protections that organization hoped the accolade might bring?
It’s the blobfish, of course, said the public. The blobfish, an inedible fish that gingerly floats just above the deep sea floor near Australia, easily gobbled up the title with about 10,000 votes, according to the BBC. Actually, whether or not the blobfish actually gobbles is unknown, as no one has ever seen the fish eat.
In fact, humans do not often see the mournful-looking blobfish, as it prefers to remain on the seafloor, where no one can mock its looks, presumably.