Blobfish named ugliest creature
A living blancmange that dwells in the darkest depths of the ocean has been officially named the world's ugliest animal.
The blobfish, described as "hideous" by Simon Watt from the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, is milky white and jelly-like.
Measuring up to a foot in length, it lives between 600 and 1,200 metres below the ocean surface off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania.
Despite being completely inedible, it has a habit of being hauled up in trawler nets.
Experts believe the blobfish is under serious threat, although there are no reliable estimates of its numbers.
"We've needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time," said Mr Watt, speaking at the British Festival of Science at the University of Newcastle.
"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."
The blobfish topped a shortlist of five ugly animals voted for online by members of the public.
In second place was the Kakapo, a critically endangered giant parrot from New Zealand, and number three was the Axolotl, a weird type of salamander from Mexico that is the equivalent of a giant tadpole.
Next on the list was the Titicaca water frog, aka the "scrotum frog", which is only found in Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia.
Locals make a frappe of the unfortunate frog, which is considered an aphrodisiac, by cooking it and running it through a blender.
The last ugly animal is the proboscis monkey, from Borneo, whose enormous nose is literally its hooter.
The nose provides a resonating echo chamber for the monkey's deafening mating calls.
The Ugly Animal Preservation Society was set up to champion the cause of endangered creatures with no friends.
It is backed by a number of celebrity scientists, presenters and comedians, and organises road shows and school visits.
Particle physicist and broadcaster Professor Brian Cox said: "I support the ugly animal campaign. There are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention.
"Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals."
Describing the blobfish, Mr Watt said: "Indeed this is an ugly hideous thing. It looks sad and so it should, because it's suffering from severe problems.
"They've got a really gelatinous flesh that is slightly more buoyant than the water. So they float around and they can be right lazy.
"They've got no muscle tone whatsoever because they don't have to move. They just sit there looking unhappy, grabbing any food that comes by.
"It's the ultimate deep sea couch potato."