Common name: Sarcastic fringehead. Scientific name: Neoclinus blanchardi. Family: Chaenopsidae. Image: Ken Bondy
Here’s a fun fact: the words “sarcastic” and “sarcasm” come from the Greek word sarkasmos, meaning “to tear or rend flesh”.
And so I introduce to you the Sarcastic fringehead – a ferociously fierce and territorial fish.
The ‘fringehead’ part of the name comes from the little fringe-like appendages above their eyes. And of course, the ‘sarcastic’ bit relates to their highly aggressive nature. I’m sure if they could talk, they would be nastily witty too.
Fringeheads are found in the Pacific Ocean off North America and tend to hide inside shells or crevices. They have also been known to live inside cans and bottles. Whatever the shelter used, they will fearlessly defend their home territory against any unwanted intruders.
When two fringeheads have a territorial battle, they wrestle with their mouths as if they are aggressively kissing…how romantic (and yes, I’m being sarcastic).
This is how they interact: