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Top 10 Ugly Fish in The World

Monkfish most ugly fish
Monkfish. Image via Pixabay

Are you curious about ugly fish or maybe trying to locate the most unattractive fish on Earth? Nature is impressive, but not every marine life is as adorable as a clownfish or as stunning as a killer whale. Here we’ve listed the 10 most ugly fish from all the corners of the planet!

Also have a look at the Deepest Fish Ever Recorded.

Fish are among nature’s most stunningly gorgeous creations, with over 34,000 different kinds. 

While every organism matters and every animal has a purpose, occasionally, evolution produces an animal that lacks the visual appeal that humans are accustomed to. Another way of stating that some of them are just plain ugly.

The incredible variety of marine creatures is beyond our understanding. Many of these 10 ugly fish species have surprising appearances that are almost impossible to picture in your mind.

The species in the list below of the ugliest fish have some of the strangest appearances. They will definitely astound you with their horrifying appearance.

However, because beauty and ugliness are distinct phenomena, we have chosen a variety of fish species to show how awful nature can be.

In light of this, below are the top 10 ugly fish in the world:

#1 Blobfish

Man holding a blobfish. Image via Flickr

Scientific Name: Psychrolutes marcidus

The oceans’ gloomy depths in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans are home to Blobfish. According to a public poll conducted by the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, this drooping, slimy, gelatinous fish is one of the world’s ugliest fish.

This deep-sea animal inhabits depths exceeding 1,600 feet below sea level in an environment of exceptionally high pressure. They have been found up to 4,000 feet below sea level.

Though being a blob can seem like a drawback, it benefits the Blobfish’s way of existence. It contains very few hard bones, and the majority of its body mass is gelatinous.

Being formed of a gelatinous, blobby substance allows the Blobfish to prevent itself from being crushed by water pressure, which is advantageous in the crushing depths where it lives.

The Blobfish has a pretty different appearance near the sea’s bottom, where it seems much more compacted and fish-like (but still quite odd-looking, even for a fish). 

The fact that the Blobfish is a gelatinous blob also contributes to its couch potato mindset. Its body composition provides the proper buoyancy to glide effortlessly across the ocean floor. Its jelly-like consistency is mainly what makes it one of the 10 most ugly fish in our oceans.

Imagine dropping a water balloon into a crowd-filled swimming pool; it would drift across the surface, the blobfish experiences pretty much the same thing.

Although it is not naturally prey, people pose a serious threat to its declining numbers. The Blobfish is frequently accidentally caught during trawling because it dwells close to the ocean floor.

#2 Angler Fish 

Angler Fish most ugly fish
Image via Unsplash

Scientific Name: Lophiiformes

The Angler Fish, an animal with a furious appearance that dwells at the bottom of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans, is the second-ugliest fish on the list. Many think of it as the most repulsive marine species and possibly one of the ugliest creatures on Earth.

Only females have its most distinguishing characteristic, a section of dorsal spine that sticks out above their lips like a fishing pole, giving rise to their name. This built-in rod catches prey that comes near enough to be lured in by its glowing flesh. 

They can swallow prey that is up to double their size because of their large jaws and the flexibility of their bodies.

The Angler Fish is characterized by a huge head, a mouth with a large crescent shape, and sharp, transparent teeth. Angler fish often range in hues from dark brown togray.  

Some angler fish can grow to be huge, measuring up to 3.3 feet. However, the majority are noticeably smaller, frequently shorter than a foot.

#3 Frilled Shark

Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Scientific Name: Chlamydoselachus anguineus

The Frilled Shark, a living fossil discovered in the dark depths of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, is one of the oldest sharks. These sharks have elongated bodies that resemble eels, and they can lunge and bend quickly to snag prey with their 300 needle-sharp teeth.

Other distinguishing characteristics include their snake-like head and vast jaws of the frilled shark, which are large enough for them to devour their prey whole. There are six-gill slits behind the head, two on each side of the body, and each has a distinctive frilly edge.

Each side’s front slits cross under the body near the throat, giving the impression of a ruffled collar. Positioned far back on the body is a tiny dorsal fin. The body is dark brown or grey, with a big anal fin and small, paddle-shaped pectoral fins.

The caudal fins’ lower lobe is tiny and only partially developed. In contrast, the higher lobe significantly lengthens and expands the serpentine body.

#4 Monkfish

Monkfish most ugly fish
Monkfish. Image via Pixabay

Scientific Name: Lophius

Monkfish, also known as fishing frogs, goosefish, anglers, and sea devils, is a bottom-dwelling fish and a member of the Lophiidae family. Monkfish are among the ugliest fish in the ocean, with mottled skin, a large head and mouth, small eyes, and teeth that resemble fangs. 

They are also greedy feeders, consuming anything that comes their way. The body appears to be little more than an appendage, with the head being huge, broad, flat, and hollow. 

Both jaws have bands of long, pointed teeth that are angled inward and can be temporarily repressed. This provides minimal resistance to an object moving toward the stomach while preventing its escape from the mouth. The largemouth wraps around the anterior circumference of the head.

The fish can walk on the ocean floor, where it typically hides in the sand or amid the seaweed, thanks to the articulation of its pectoral and ventral fins to serve as feet. Its skin has fringed appendages that resemble short seaweed fronds all over its head and body.

The fish substantially benefits from these features to disguise itself in its hiding locations, in addition to having the ability to alter the color of its body to match its environment. Typically they choose hiding spots where the concentration of their favorite prey is high.

The Monkfish is a tasty sea creature despite its repulsive, ghoulish appearance. It is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, and its liver is prized in Japan. 

#5 Goblin Shark 

Goblin shark
Head of a goblin shark with jaws extended . Image via Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria, CC BY 3.0 AU, via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Mitsukurina owstoni

The Goblin Shark inhabits the deep ocean and is one of the rarest sharks today. It is a predator with a strangely formed mouth and a long, extended snout. Thanks to its slingshot jaws, it can skilfully grab and ambush its prey.

Fish known as “goblin sharks” typically inhabit the ocean floor at continental shelves or the margins of continents. These pink creatures can grow 12 feet long and 460 pounds in weight. They have teeth that resemble fangs and narrow snouts. Typically they reside off the Japanese coast.

Its name stems from their resemblance to mythological goblins that occur in Japanese folklore.

Biologists know very little about the behavior of these infrequently encountered animals. However, they think that goblin sharks live alone like many other shark species. Additionally, they believe that morning and evening are the fish’s busiest times.

These animals are probably slow-moving, which might make hunting for food challenging. Fortunately for the slowpokes, they get extra bites thanks to their unique extended jaws.

#6 Atlantic Wolffish 

Woldfish swimming
Wolffishes have a large head and a long tapered body. Image by Paul Gorbould via Flickr.

Scientific Name: Anarhichas lupus

The Atlantic Wolffish, often referred to as the sea wolf or the devilfish, looks as terrible as its name implies. Its protruding, canine-like teeth pursue slow-moving prey like sea urchins, lobsters, crabs, and giant marine snails.

Apart from their distinctive appearance, you can easily differentiate wolf fishes by the great size of their eggs, as well as the natural antifreeze they produce to keep their blood flowing freely in their icy habitat. Unlike most species, both the male and female actively participate in brood bearing.

They play a crucial role in managing sea urchins and green crabs populations, which, if unregulated, can cause excessive habitat disruption. 

The success of the wolffish population serves as a crucial barometer for the well-being of other populations of bottom-dwellers, such as the Atlantic cod.

Bottom trawlers are a hazard to the Atlantic wolffish, frequently caught unintentionally. The Atlantic wolffish uses its powerful jaws to consume echinoderms, crabs, and hard-shell mollusks. They do not eat other fish.

Large whelks (Buccinum), cockles (Polynices, Chrysodomus, and Sipho), sea clams (Mactra), giant hermit crabs, starfish, and sea urchins are the foods they are known to consume frequently. Moreover, they are a significant predator of green crabs and sea urchins, whose multiplying numbers may harm the stability of a marine ecosystem if not kept in check.

#7 Sloane’s Viperfish

David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Chauliodus sloani

A dragonfish called Sloane’s Viperfish is present in tropical and temperate waters worldwide. It has an extended dorsal spine and mostly eats small fish and crustaceans. The viperfish, also known as Sloane’s viperfish, is easily recognized by its unusual lower jaw and long, needle-shaped teeth.

They typically measure from 12 – 23 in (30 – 60 cm) in length. The deep ocean waters and the tropics are home to viperfish (around 3,300 to 16,000 feet). The average water temperature at this point is 39°F.

They are one of many fish on this list that can use photophores or other light-producing organs to entice their food. They are situated near the tip of the dorsal fin spine and along the sides of the body. Similar to how anglerfish flashes on and off, so does the viperfish’s light.

Scientists estimate that viperfish can survive up to 40 years in the wild and come in various colors, from green to black. They have something on them that resembles scales but what it is exactly is unknown. Whatever it is, they are definitely one of the 10 most ugly fish out there.

#8 Hagfish 

By Justin –, CC BY 2.0,

Scientific Name: Myxini

The Hagfish is a bottom-dwelling, eel-shaped marine animal that lives all over the world in icy, deep waters. Hagfish have highly developed senses of touch and smell despite being nearly blind. Around their mouth, they have four pairs of detecting tentacles.

A hagfish’s mouth lacks jaws but has two pairs of rasps that resemble teeth on top of a tongue-like projection. 

The pairs of rasps pincer as its tongue is pushed back into the hagfish’s mouth. This bite aids in collecting and devouring marine invertebrates, as well as tearing into the flesh of dead and dying fish that have sunk to the muddy ocean floor.

Polychaete worms make up the vast majority of the hagfish’s diet, although due to their slow metabolism, they can go up to seven months without eating. This eerie-looking fish, sometimes known as slime eel, can rapidly shoot out many liters of slime, which it utilizes to ward off predators and make a smooth getaway.

This species’ ability to feed on dead or dying marine life by digging deep into their flesh and devouring their meals from the inside out is another one of its unusual traits.

In most of the world, people don’t eat hagfish. In Korea, however, the hagfish is a prized delicacy. It is typically skinned, covered in a hot sauce, and roasted over charcoal or stir-fried. 

It is particularly well-liked in South Gyeongsang Province’s coastline cities and the peninsula’s southern port cities like Busan.

Most hagfish caught for food everywhere in the globe are being sold to South Korea and Japan. 

Many people consider Hagfish slime an energy-saving substitute for creating tofu because it does not require heating, binding enormous amounts of liquid even at low temperatures.

#9 Whitemargin Stargazer

Stargazer, Cabo Cope Puntas del Calnegre Regional Park, Spain
Stargazer, Cabo Cope Puntas del Calnegre Regional Park, Spain. Image via Depositphotos

Scientific Name: Uranoscopus sulphureus

The Whitemargin Stargazer is a member of the stargazer family and has upward-facing lips and eyes on the top of its head. They can shock prey with electricity via their electroplates, which contributes to their hunting skills. Other than being one of the 10 most ugly fish, they are also one of the meanest fish and should not be trifled with.

They feature double-grooved poison spines above the pectoral fins and behind the operculum, and injuries can be quite severe. Depending on the water’s temperature, stargazers have electric organs in a specific pouch below their eyes that may discharge up to 50 volts!

Stargazers have been referred to as “the meanest things in existence” since they ambush predators that conceal themselves, some of which can inflict venom and electric shocks. The fish is locally referred to as “mother-in-law fish.”

It resides in reef flats but is challenging to locate because it typically spends much of its time submerged in the bottom, only the eyes protruding. The cirri on the mouth’s border keep sand out when they breathe while buried. The oral lure is employed to get the victim into mouth-striking distance.

#10 Red-lipped Batfish 

Red-lipped Batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini), photo from the Galapagos (the species is also found off Peru).
Red-lipped Batfish (Ogcocephalus darwini), photo from the Galapagos (the species is also found off Peru). By Rein Ketelaars – Flickr: DSCN1938.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Scientific Name: Ogcocephalus darwini

The Red-lipped Batfish, another bottom-dweller found in the waters near the Galapagos Islands, is most certainly an odd-looking fish. Their place on this list of the 10 most ugly fish is definitely well deserved.

The fish has a distinctive appearance with a startling bright red mouth, a mustache, and beard. Some individuals might find it difficult to accept that this peculiar aquatic creature has not applied makeup! Its modified dorsal fin attracts prey, including tiny fish, crabs, and shrimp, as it reaches sexual maturity.

The red-lipped batfish is a truly ungainly swimmer who uses its pelvic and pectoral fins to ‘walk’ on the floor of the ocean, unlike other fish species in the ocean. Whether the red-lipped batfish is ugly or just odd-looking depends on who you ask.

The red-lipped batfish, which is found in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands and close to the South American coast in Peru, has an unusually formed body, and experts theorize that this body shape may assist the fish in finding a mate. 

Unlike most fish, red-lipped batfish prefer to “walk” on the ocean floor rather than swim gracefully. As they age, they stop using their dorsal fin for swimming and instead use it to lure prey.

Final Thoughts

By, Public Domain,

There you have it, then! These are the 10 most ugly fish found around the world. Many fish species that are staggering in size and form, with a bizarre and repulsive appearance, inhabit the oceans.

Despite their less-than-appealing look, it is essential to understand that each creature has a job and contributes significantly to maintaining a healthy environment.

Thank you for reading this article! If you want to see even uglier animals you should check out The Top Ten Ugly Animals in the World!

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