The grotesque, perpetually grumpy-looking blobfish has been crowned the world's ugliest animal.
With its new title, the deep-sea creature will serve as the hideous public face of the U.K.-based Ugly Animal Preservation Society, an environmental group that champions "Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children."
In its quest for the anti-panda, the campaign, which started as a comedy night, collected thousands of votes to choose a mascot from 11 nominees lacking in traditional charisma. As it turns out, the public decided the blobfish was even more repellant than the "scrotum frog," pubic lice and the big-nosed proboscis monkey. [Photos: The Freakiest-Looking Fish]
Biologist Simon Watt, "President for Life" of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, announced the winner Thursday (Sept. 12) at the British Science Festival in Newcastle.
"We've needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I've been amazed by the public's reaction," Watt said in a statement. "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." (Minger is British slang for an unattractive person.)
Though the group's mission is somewhat cheeky, it does genuinely hope to raise the profile of animals that face serious threats in the wild.
Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), for example, get caught in fishing trawlers as they feed off crabs and lobsters living 1,900 to 3,900 feet (600 to 1,200 meters) below the surface, off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania. Some researchers fear that the 12-inch (30-centimeter) gelatinous-looking fish could be endangered because of overfishing, according to The Telegraph.
Physicist Brian Cox threw his support behind the campaign, saying there are "too many people trying to save cute animals."
"They get all the press, and all the attention," Cox said in a statement. "Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals. So I think it is a superb campaign."