Top 10 Ugly Fish

All things bright and beautiful all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful…on second thoughts, when the animals went in two by two, it was a good job that these vile specimens didn’t need to go in the ark!

It is often said that true beauty radiates from within…this applies to fish too, but sadly, this lot don’t have much going for them. We know this might be shallow, but here are just 10 of the ugliest fish.


Angler Fish

The Anglerfish has a face only a mother could love. You would have thought that these bony fishes would frighten away even the most sympathetic sea creatures from a mile off, but they actually lure their prey in using the fleshy growth which sprouts from their head! These ghastly creatures lurk in the very depths of the sea, wiggling their antenna-like growth to fool smaller fish into thinking they have found a meal of their own, before devouring the prey whole.



Frilled shark

We can’t see these things getting many dates on Plenty of Fish, but do they look bothered? Like most ugly fish, these guys can be found deep in the darkest depths of the ocean, like the devilish fiends that they are. It’s said that the deepest recorded sighting was 1,570m below sea level! Which is good because we want these monstrosities as far away from us as possible, and we aren’t the only ones, even their own mothers feed them using a sling shot so not to get too close.




Mr Blobby over here is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. This gloopy slimy mess inhabits the deep waters off the coasts of Australia and Tasmania.

In water, these mutants don’t look half as unsightly as they do on land. If you actually asked your typical blobfish why he’s so uneasy on the eye, he’d probably blame his  low density flesh which is designed to maintain buoyancy in the water.

Last year the blobfish was voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal”, and so maybe we should cut these guys some slack. Not only are they mocked for their ghastly appearance, they’re often caught accidentally in bottom trawling nets. Scientists are beginning to fear that they may become an endangered species as a result.




We’re often told that there’s plenty more fish in the sea, but when the fish in the sea look like this thing, it doesn’t fill one with much optimism. 

These repugnant lumps of slime are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. Scoff at their mucous flesh all you wish, these clammy beasts are considered a delicacy to many in Scandinavia, with their eggs being used as caviar.

What these kids lack in good looks, they make up for in talent and ability. Their pelvic fins are sticky which allows them to stick to surfaces. They can anchor themselves to the ocean floor, waiting for their next meal to pass, before gobbling them up in an instant.



Snake head fish

Kill it before it lays eggs! That’s exactly what fishermen were told to do when these vulgar critters were first spotted in US waters around a decade ago. This snake-like species has a slimy protective layer and small but sharp teeth. Its advanced breathing system allows it to survive out of water for days, so if you find yourself being chased by one of these rabid beasts, there’s no escape! Ahhh! While these grotesque things look pretty terrifying, let’s remember that beauty is only fin deep. These poor misunderstood fish are gradually becoming extinct and some say that they are being eaten out of existence.




This thing looks as though it fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, and not only does it look frightful, but it also delivers a super painful sting that can kill you! Stonefish are the most venomous fish in the  world and are best left alone.



Fanfin Seadevil

These distressing sea monsters will haunt your nightmares. The unkempt seadevils may look like they need a plucking, but the weird whiskers emerging from their bodies are in fact tongue-like appendages which are used to ‘taste’ the water around them in the search for prey. Say what you like about these guys’ appearance, we bet you wouldn’t say anything nasty to their face!




These saltwater fish have long, needle-like teeth and hinged lower jaws. The repulsive beasts lure in their prey with a light-producing organ which flashes to communicate with potential mates and rivals. These dribbling individuals have such freakishly long fang-like teeth that they have to fold their teeth into their heads in order to close their mouths. Unlike fine wines, these demons don’t get any better with age. Living up to 30 to 40 years in the wild, they are able to survive for long periods of time with very little food.



Goblin Shark

Goblin by name, goblin by nature. Thankfully, this wretched animal is very rare, as the last thing you want while taking a dip in the ocean is for this guy to rear its ugly head. Goblin sharks are known for their sluggish nature, emphasised by their flabby bodies, small fins and various unsightly anatomical features. But while they may luck like lazy couch potatoes, their offensive snouts allow them to sense minute electric fields produced by nearby prey, snapping them up rapidly in a matter of milliseconds.




As ugly as this creature is, we think it’d make a fantastic cartoon character. We imagine these short and stocky frogfishes to have a lazy and somewhat dopey demeanor. But in actual fact, while they may look clownish in appearance, they use their sluggish mannerisms to wait patiently for their prey, before striking rapidly in as little as 6 milliseconds.


Perhaps we’ve said enough mean things about these sea creatures for one day. As displeasing as they may be to look at, we have to admit that they’re all rather fascinating!

Think you know any uglier fish? Tweet us @SwellAquatics using the hashtag #uglyfish


  • Avatar Gareth Posted 31/03/2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I completely agree. Such a vast array of peculiar fish mammals, that have indeed depressed my nightmares.

  • Avatar Caden The Blobfish Posted 03/01/2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink | Reply


  • Avatar Snicker-doodle Posted 31/12/2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was afraid that my beautiful mooshyfish would be up there. Don’t bother looking it up, though, ’cause the cow-jellyfish is an original creation. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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