The blobfish, which lives deep off Australia, has been voted the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society. (Photo: National Marine Fisheries Service)
By Michael Winter , USA TODAY
It's a face only a blobfish mother could love, and even that might not be guaranteed.
But the blobfish is beloved by members and followers of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, who voted it the "ugliest animal" on Planet Earth and made it the edu-tainment organization's mascot.
The U.K. group's president, Simon Watt - a biologist, science "communicator," writer, comedian and "TV bod" - announced the winner (loser?) at the British Science Festival.
He believes "the panda gets too much attention," so the UAPS -- described as "a comedy night with a conservation twist" -- sought a mascot "to rival the cute and cuddly emblems used by so many organizations."
"We've needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I've been amazed by the public's reaction," Watt declared. "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."
Scientists and comedians made videos of "11 of Mother Nature's most aesthetically challenged beasts," the group said in anointing Psychrolutes macricus the king of ugly. Runners-up included the world's only parrot that cannot fly; a salamander that never grows up; the Andean "scrotum" water frog; and the proboscis monkey, notable for its big nose.
The UAPS did not release vote totals, saying only that "thousands" had voted. The BBC reported the blob won by almost 10,000 votes.
With its Jimmy Durante schnoz and profound frown, the gelatinous, foot-long blobfish lives under great pressures between 1,800 and 3,600 feet deep off Australia. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has more info, including a podcast.