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Bartholomew Says Hello June 22, 2010

Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Animals, Brain Power, Deep Sea, Easy As Pie, Environment, Evolution, Ocean.
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If this blobfish could talk, I think it would ask for us humans to give it some space. Maybe then it would have reason to smile. Credit: Greenpeace

Okay well, I made up the name Bartholomew and this interesting creature can’t really speak.  But if it could, I imagine it might say something like “Please leave me alone!”  So, just what is this odd, slimy thing and why would it want us to stay away?

Meet A Blobfish

With the formal name of Psychrolutes marcidus, the blobfish is definitely not the world’s prettiest fish.  It is, however, on the verge of extinction according to researchers at the University of York in England.  For blobfish, home is 800 meters into the ocean, just off the southeastern coast of Australia.

But unfortunately, excessive fishing with nets along the bottom of the ocean has jeopardized the well-being of the blobfish.  It starts with overfishing at less deep and murky depths.  After reducing populations up there, not much is left.

To compensate, we do something called bottom trawling, which takes us even deeper into the ocean.  Here, we are fishing along the sea floor.  It’s bad news for Bartholomew and all the other blobfish down there.  No wonder poor Bartholomew looks so sad.

These blobfish may look like your grumpy Great Aunt Martha but they're probably unhappy for another reason. Overfishing is threatening their livelihood. Credit: NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

A Day In The Life Of Bartholomew

Just humour me here and let’s keep the name.  So what’s life like for Bartholomew?  You won’t see it for yourself because Bartholomew lives deep in the ocean, far away from our eyes.

That peculiar body serves a purpose, letting Bartholomew sort of float above the sea floor.  Instead of using a bunch of energy to move, Bartholomew keeps movement easy and light.

How big is this body?  A blobfish usually grows to approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters).  In fact, I just picked up a comic book I will soon be reviewing here on the blog, and it’s about the same length as a blobfish.

A Floating Feeder

And boy oh boy, feeding is an interesting activity for the blobfish.  While you or I take an active role in eating – we open our mouths and put food inside – the blobfish does it another way.  When Bartholomew feeds, it means just drifting along, swallowing food particles that float in its mouth.

Ugliness Comes In Many Forms

Bartholomew is yet another example of the consequences from overfishing.  Without adequate regulations around deep sea trawling, our ‘hello’ to Bartholomew may soon be a ‘goodbye’ instead.  While his appearance may be ugly, some might say that the actions of humans are far uglier.

Comments»

1. Mr.Science - July 15, 2010

What an ugly fish but that doesnt keep me from caring about what some of us unthinking humans are doing to them. What if maybe we could set up a cmpainn maybe that would help the blobfish. Or maybe we could take a few to another home somewhere far away so noone can get them. Because I belive this is a special species and Earth doesnt have as mush (special) species left. And myabe we can get some regulations around deep sea trawling.

2. Miss Weird Scientist - July 15, 2010

Aw, I am glad to see you care! I’m also impressed with your ideas for helping the blobfish. Regulations are a sensible choice but there are loads of logistics that can make it tough. A regulation is only as good as those who respect and enforce it.

I totally agree that diversity is such a cool thing.

(and I’m sure Bartholomew would thank you for the comments!)

3. Mr.Science - July 16, 2010

I am glad to see that you agree . Too bad not everyone is like me and you . Thankyou for your feed back I certianly think that it is our job since we are the top species on earth to help and presurve natures animals and habitats.

4. Miss Weird Scientist - July 17, 2010

You say “preserve” and “help” yet how ironic is it that we sometimes do the exact opposite?

5. Stefan - July 19, 2010

This fish is pretty ugly, but I really can’t help but think he looks kind of cute in the first picture. The other picture however frightens me to no end. I agree that the greed of humans is an ugly thing when it comes to overfishing and other forms of over consumption of resources. I really hope Bartholomew gets a break and a chance to keep bobbing along the ocean floor!

6. Miss Weird Scientist - July 19, 2010

And here I figured that I’m the only one who thinks this slimy creature is actually kind of cute!


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