Blobfish 'wins' world's ugliest animal contest

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, in the UK, has named the gelatinous, deep sea fish the world's most "aesthetically challenged" animal.

S.Humphreys/Australian Museum/NOAA
The mournful-faced blobfish is the world's ugliest animal, says a British comedy group.

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. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Blobfish 'wins' world's ugliest animal contest
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today