Story: Deep-sea creatures

Blobfish and snailfish

Blobfish and snailfish

Blobfish (Psychrolutes species) don’t need muscles – they have a feeding strategy that consists of sitting and waiting for something edible to go by. As well as that, their jelly-like flesh is slightly lighter than water, so they don’t need to expend energy or scarce oxygen to stop themselves from sinking towards the sea floor. This low-density flesh is an alternative to a gas-filled swim bladder, a feature of many fish in less deep waters. However, at 800 metres deep the pressure is about 80 times higher than at sea level, so any gas would be too compressed to serve the purpose. Also in this photograph is a small red snailfish, another deep-water species with a jelly-like layer.

About this item

NORFANZ

© NORFANZ

This image has been provided courtesy of the NORFANZ partners – Australia’s National Oceans Office and CSIRO and New Zealand’s Ministry of Fisheries and NIWA. The use of this image does not imply the endorsement of the NORFANZ partners of the content of this entry.

How to cite this page:

Paddy Ryan. 'Deep-sea creatures - The mesopelagic zone', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 14-Nov-12
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/5281/blobfish-and-snailfish