The Top 15 World’s Ugliest Fishes

The top 15 ugliest fishes in the world pictures.

The ugliest fishes in the world are actually amazing fishes that are truly not so pleasant to look at but they are interesting. We can rightly say they are amazingly ugly creatures in the oceans around the world. They live at a very deep depth of the oceanic floor between 4,000 to 5,000 feet. 

And with this, they have weird-looking features that make them look ugly which is important for their survival in their various habitat. The fishes here are classified as ugly based on their shape as well as their look and not on their personality traits. 

Here are the top 15 world's ugliest fishes, they are, 

  • Blobfish
  • Angler fish
  • Gulper Eel 
  • Viperfish
  • Stargazer
  • Asian sheepshead wrasse
  • Frilled Shark
  • Red-lipped Batfish
  • Toadfish
  • Atlantic Wolffish
  • Green Bumphead Parrotfish

And four more of these fishes plus the Illuminated NetDevil. Check them out, their pictures, videos, their fascinating pieces of information, and more. 

Keep reading! 

1. Blobfish                       

Blobfish is regarded as the ugliest fish in the world.
Image credit: 

Habitat: New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania

Lifespan: Unknown

Blobfish has the reputation of being the ugliest fish in the marine world. Due to its gelatinous appearance, in 2013 many people voted this fish as the ugliest animal as well. This makes the fish so popular, as they can be found on T-shirts as well as in memes. 

Just as the common saying that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so also is this fish that some still consider it has cute. In its habitat which is between 2,000 to 4,000 feet below the water surface, it does not look gelatinous rather it looks like other fishes. 

But outside the water, it loses its shape, because the water pressure is lowered. Unlike other fishes, it does not have a bone, their body is being supported by great water pressure experienced at the deep dept of the oceanic floor. 

They feed on crabs and mollusks while swimming about on the oceanic floor. Although the exact number of these fish is unknown, they might be on the brink of extinction as it is speculated by some scientists.

2. Angler fish                      

Angler fish is one out of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit:

Habitat: murky depths of the Atlantic and Antarctic oceans

Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

Angler fish is listed here for its ugly angry look, big head, its crescent jaw shape with full transparent sharp teeth. Their mouth is very big that they can swallow prey that can be the doubled size of their body. 

Females are bigger than males, females also have features that give them the name, Angler fish, even though are not present in males. Above the female mouth is the dorsal spine that extends outward above their lips. 

This fish lives in the most inhospitable place on the planet, at the bottom of the sea where there is little light and the place may feel lonely for the fish, jokingly this may have caused this fish to look so upset. All these features bring this fish on the list of the ugliest fishes in the world. 

There are over 200 species of this fish, and some species can be about 3.3 feet long. This fish has a weird reproduction when a male sees a female, it will grab the female body with it is teeth and fuses itself with the female's body. 

At that moment all its body parts except its testes will fuse to the female body. Although it happens gradually, 6 or even more males could be carried by a single female. 

3. Gulper Eel                    

Gulper eel fish is among the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: Alexei Orlov

Habitat: Everywhere around the world

Lifespan: 85 years

They are rare fishes that live at the dept of 6,000 feet underneath the water, in a dark place, where the sun does not reach. Due to the dept, they live in, other creatures rarely live with them, and they have few to no predators. 

They are types of fish called eel that look like snakes. They have a thin long body that grows to a length of 3 to 6 feet long. Its tail is whip-like and it uses it for movements. The tail also has a photophore which is an organ that produces light. 

Its tail sometimes flashes red light and glows pink most times. It is believed that it uses light to attract its prey since they have not been seen to run after its prey, prey like squid and other small invertebrates. 

The gulper eel is different from other eel fish with its massive head. They have the ability to enlarge their head like the way you inflate your balloon. You can watch the interesting video below. 

If their head is not inflated, the fish really looks ugly with its wide mouth, like a pelican, being among the ugliest fishes in the world. For this, they are also known as Pelican eel. They have tiny teeth in their mouth. With their large mouth, they can swallow a big food at once. 

See also:

The Top 15 Rarest Animals In The World 

4. Viperfish                       

Viperfish is part of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: © Citron / CC BY-SA 3.0

Habitat: Around the world in tropical and temperate waters

Lifespan: 15 to 30 years

It is a small fish that is can be 30 cm (about 11 to 12 inches) long at a depth of 5,000 underwater. It has different colors, they can be black, dark silvery blue or green to silver. It has the unusual ferocious look of a fierce predator and it is. Certainly, it is one of the ugliest fishes in the world. 

It has fang-like teeth that the fang are big that it cannot fit into the mouth. This the mouth larger, curving back nearly to the fish's eyes. It will swim at a very high speed toward its prey and then uses its fangs to impale it. 

Behind its head is a first vertebra that acts as a shock absorber.  It also has a photophore in its long dorsal spine that is used to attract its victim as it is a light-producing organ. The phenomenon is known as bioluminescence. 

This fish has the ability to off and on its body light which attracts its smaller prey. The light also protects them from predation. Their stomach is very big, this helps them to store food when there is much food. 

5. Stargazer                  

Stargazer is on the list of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: Canvasman21 at English Wikipedia

Habitat: Temperate and warm seas around the world.

Lifespan: 5 to 6 years

This fish is also known as Tube-nosed Stargazer, Popeye Fish, and officially as mother-in-law fish, the reason for the funny last name mention is unclear. They have this weird look, even more, when they buried themselves in the sand, in order to catch their prey like crabs and other small fishes. 

Unlike other fishes whose eyes are beside their heads, this fish has its eyes on the top of its head, given its name, stargazer. They have fringed lips that are slant vertical. They have heavy flat big heads with tapered bodies. 

All these physical characteristics make them belong on this list of the ugliest fishes in the world. There are about 50 of these species and the biggest species among them can weigh 20 pounds (9 kg) and can be as long as 3.5 meters. 

This fish has two big spines close to its eyelids and it is poisonous, even though in some cultures, it is eaten as it is not poisonous when cooked.  The two species Uranoscopus and Astroscopus have an electric organ that causes shock, even though they do not have an electric connector, unlike other electric fish. 

6. Asian sheepshead wrasse    

Image credit: Ryokou man

Habitat: Western Pacific Ocean of North and South Korea, China, and Japan.

Lifespan: 25 to 30 years

It is the biggest species among the wrasses family. They love a solitary lifestyle, they only come together during the breeding season. They are friendly fish, especially to humans. In Japan, they are also known as Kobudai. 

This fish can reach up to 1 meter in length and the highest weight record is 32 pounds (14.7 kg). It has facial features that make people see it as ugly. It has a swollen-looking head, thick lower jaw, and distinctive chin and its teeth snarled in all directions. 

Asian sheepshead wrasse has the ability to change their gender. If there is no male in a group, the biggest female becomes a male by going through some physical changes. In their habitat, you can spot them at 5 meters deep. 

They prefer subtropical environments and rocky reef areas. They feed on small fish, crustaceans, clams, oysters, and similar animals.  They also prey on big sharks and humans too also hunt them as they can be consumed.

7. Frilled Shark                 

Among the ugliest fishes in the world is Frilled Shark.
Image credit:

Habitat: Atlantic and Pacific oceans 

Lifespan: Unknown

It is also called lizard shark, Scaffold Shark, and Silk Shark. It is a rare species of shark that was discovered in 2004. They can measure between 1 to 1.5 meters. It is named frilled because unlike other fishes, it has its gills around its neck forming a red fringe. 

It uses its needle teeth to attract its prey and then strikes its prey and swallowed it whole as it opens its mouth wide, just like a snake. It has almost 200 white trident-shaped teeth arranged in 25 rows, all facing backward, with this, it is unable for its prey to escape. It is among the ugliest fishes in the world.

Their reproduction is quite slow that its gestation period can take three and half years as speculated by some scientists. They are regarded as the vertebrate with the longest gestation period. 

8. Red-lipped Batfish       

Red-lipped Batfish is one of the ugliest strange fishes in the world.
Image credit: Rein Ketelaars / Wikimedia Commons 

Habitat: Sandy ocean floor and reefs around the Galapagos Islands and off the shores of Peru

Lifespan: about 12 years

As we can see from the picture above, its distinguishing feature brings it to this list. They are not good swimmers as their pectoral fins are modified to walk in the rough seabed.  

It has bright red lips and its facial expression jokingly looks as if it is not happy with the makeup on its lips. More to its bright lips is a dangling projection called illicium, between its two eyes. Absolutely, it is one of the ugliest fishes in the world with its weird look. 

It uses the projection to attract its prey into its mouth, prey like crabs, mollusks, and shrimp. You can spot them at 100 meters (300 feet) underwater on the sandy sea beds. They have brownish and grey coloration.

See also:

The Top 25 Cutest Animals In The World 

9. Toadfish                      

One out of the ugliest fishes in the world is Toadfish
Image credit:

Habitat: Warm sea of New World (Earth's Western Hemisphere)

Lifespan: 3 to 24 years

Their name comes from their look, in that they resemble toads. They are also referred to as frogfish. Their maximum size is 16 inches (0.4 m) long. They have flattened broad heads with large mouths that have strong teeth. Undeniably, it is one of the ugliest fishes in the world. 

They do make a very loud croaking sound, like the sound of a toad, that they can be heard outside the water. It is one of the fishes that belong to the Batrachoididae family. There are 83 of this species and their scaleless skin is covered by mucus. This fish is also referred to as dogfish along the Gulf coast. 

Its venom is one of the most dangerous poisons, yet it is edible if it is cooked properly, even though it is said to be delicious. There is no antidote for its poison and some of this fish species' poison is more dangerous than the black widow spider venom multiple times.

10. Atlantic Wolfish            

Image credit: Eirik Mikkelsen

Habitat: Arctic areas as far as the Northern part of Greenland.

Lifespan: 12 years

It is named as such because of the similar look it has to the wolf. This fish is among the top 10 ugliest fishes in the world because of its impressive uneven canines, given it a devil-like appearance. The teeth are not just disfiguring this fish, it has a powerful bite force. 

The teeth can crush crustaceans or mollusks almost immediately after they get to their mouth. These fishes prefer this type of meal to prey with soft bones. There are only 5 species of this fish. On average, they can be 0.75 feet long with a weight of 50 pounds. 

Sadly, it is one of the endangered species on the list of IUCN. You can never see this fish stop swimming, it swims continuously throughout its whole life. It does not have a swimming bladder, a bladder filled with air, for this, it has to swim all the time. 

11. Green Bumphead Parrotfish     

Green Bumphead Parrotfish is one of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: Rickard Zerpe / Wikimedia Commons 

Habitat: Coral reefs on the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific, Indian, Ocean's peripheral areas.

Lifespan: about 40 years

Its head shape looks similar to the Asian sheepshead wrasse discussed above, but it looks more like a parrot with its beaklike mouth. It has a unique coloration among fish. They can weigh 100 pounds and can be 4 feet long. 

It has the unique ability to encase itself in a mucus cocoon at night, probably to protect itself from predators. Its gills have special glands that secrete the mucus. I know you will agree that these fish belong to this list of the ugliest fishes in the world.

It has two sets of strong teeth for crushing its food. Its teeth are stronger than many metals. It is stronger than silver, gold, or copper, they can even crush these metals in minutes They are voracious eaters, and they can consume coral at a pace of up to 20 bites every minute. 

It is believed that they crush 1 ton of corals to sand every year, by ingesting and egesting the corals. There are about 90 species of bump head parrot. They can change their sex as they grow, it is a process named protogynous hermaphroditism.

12. Ambon Scorpionfish      

Ambon Scorpionfish is part of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: Steve Childs from Lancaster, UK

Habitat: Coasts of the Red Sea, Yellow Sea, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia.

Lifespan: 15 years

As it is clearly seen in the picture above, it has a weird look, and some people considered them one of the ugliest fishes in the world.  They have an algae-like appearance and you can even spot them around algae clumps. They are also called Firefish, Hairy Scorpionfish, Stingfish, and Ambon Rockfish. 

They are highly poisonous and dangerous fish. Along with their back is a venomous spine that can cause death, as it has been reported to kill. They are ambush predators, they are so patient that they wait till their prey comes very close to them before they strike. 

These fish are very good at camouflaging with the colors of algae clumps around them because they have the ability to change their colors. Even though they are fishes in the water, they feed by means of suction. They do this by making water flow at higher pressure by opening their mouth widely and fast. Thereby dragging their prey into their mouth. 

See also:

The Top 67 Weirdest Animals In The World 

13. Ocean Sunfish                 

Ocean Sunfish is one out of the ugliest fishes in the world and it is the heaviest fish.
Image credit: OpenCage 

Habitat: The Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, or inlets like the Mediterranean and North Seas, have temperate and tropical waters.

Lifespan: Unknown (but 10 years in captivity)

It is also known as mola mola as they have a whitish round shape and is regarded as one of the weirdest fish in the world. And this also brings it on the list. They are big heavy fishes that from the tip to the bottom fin can be up to 2.5 m (8.2 feet) long. 

On average they can weigh a maximum weight of 2,300 kg (5,100 Ib), which is the weight of some SUVs. They are the heaviest bony fish.  Their colors are usually silver, gray, or white. They are found at oceanic depths of 600m (2,000 feet). 

Their habitat is a little bit colder, this fish will swim towards the surface to sunbathe to keep them warm, this gives them the name, Ocean Sunfish. At the time they come for sunbathing, some seabirds pick off parasites from the fish body as they can host up to 40 parasites in the body. 

14. Stonefish                      

This fish, stonefish is one of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit:  SeanMacks

Habitat: Coral bottoms under ledges or rocks under  Indo-Pacific waters of northern New South Wales, Queensland, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Lifespan: 5 to 10 years

It is an intriguing fish. They have the ability to stay out of water for a day, 24 hours, and still survive. This fish has two negative honors, it is one of the top ugliest fishes in the world as well as the most dangerous fish. 

It is the most venomous fish on earth with its two venom glands on its 13 sharp dorsal fin spines that release poisons when stepped or disturbed. Underneath their skin again they have three anal spines and two pelvic. 

They can be 30 to 40 centimeters long. They are dangerous to both humans and other marine creatures. Even though they are venomous, they do not use venom to kill their prey instead they speedily capture their prey. 

15. Goblin Shark                   

Goblin Shark is type of shark on the list of the ugliest fishes in the world.
Image credit: Dianne Bray / Museum Victoria

Habitat: Base of the ocean of continental shelves around the world.

Lifespan: About 60 years

Where they live is interesting, as they live at the deep waters of the continent's edges, around the world. They are among the ugliest fishes in the world as they have the usual long snout and pinkish body. Their body does not have color actually, they have transparent skin with bloodstreams under their skin that makes it appear whitish pink. 

The importance of the protruding flattened snout is still unknown to scientists. It got its name from a Japanese word that related to a demon that they believe has a long-nosed and red face. The biggest ever recorded measures 463 Ibs and it was 12.6 feet in length. 

The jaws of a goblin shark are connected by elastic ligaments, and if prey approaches, the jaw protrudes, enabling the shark to launch its entire mouth into it at a range of 8.6 to 9.4percent of the total of its full body length. 

Its mouth can expand to a whopping 111 degrees. The shark can completely consume seemingly out-of-reach prey in the twinkling of an eye, owing to its jaw's stretch and maw's capability. 

+ Illuminated NetDevil             

Illuminated netdevil is part of the ugliest fishes in the world today.
A fish that emit light. Image credit: Axis / Memozee

Habitat: The western Pacific Ocean, close to Newzealand and Japan and in tropical and subtropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean

Lifespan: 3 to 5 years

They are parts of the deep-sea anglerfish with vicious fanged jaws. But they have more features than other species of deep-sea anglerfish. In that, they have brightly pearl-onion bioluminescence on the top of their head and their chin as well is has hanging filaments. 

All these features make people name them illuminated NetDevil and it is considered one of the ugliest. This fish has the ability to glow brightly in order to attract its prey. We have earlier discussed the features of deepsea anglerfish in this article that also apply to this very fish too.

What are your thoughts on the ugliest fishes in the world? We will like to hear from you in the comment section below (Post a comment). Please share this article if you like it. You can also follow us at our social media handles or you can subscribe to our mailing list. Thanks for reading!


  1. Though these fishes are ugly they are interesting,some of them even have amazing features.
    They are amezing in their own ways.

  2. Interesting post


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