Sarcastic fringehead

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Sarcastic fringehead
Sarcastic Fringehead
Scientific classification
N. blanchardi
Binomial name
Neoclinus blanchardi
Girard, 1858
A sarcastic fringehead living in a plastic tube

The sarcastic fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi) is a small but very hardy saltwater fish that has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behavior, for which it has been given its common name.[1] When two fringeheads have a territorial battle, they wrestle by pressing their distended mouths against each other, as if they were kissing. This allows them to determine which is the larger fish, which establishes dominance.[2]

They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long,[3] elongate and slender,[1] and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. They are generally brown in color. Sarcastic Fringeheads are a species of tube blenny, and therefore tend to hide inside shells or crevices, though some have been found living in man-made objects such as a soda can.[4] After the female spawns under a rock or in clam burrows, the male guards the eggs. During squid spawning season, they eat large numbers of squid eggs.

They are found in the Pacific, off the coast of North America, from San Francisco, California, to central Baja California. Their depth range is from 3 to 73 metres (10 to 240 ft).[3]


  1. ^ a b "Sarcastic Fringehead: Neoclinus blanchardi". Aquarium of the Pacific.
  2. ^ Denny, Mark; Steven Gaines (2002). Chance in Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0691094942.
  3. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Neoclinus blanchardi" in FishBase. February 2013 version.
  4. ^ "Sarcastic Fringehead". Oceana. Oceana. Retrieved 29 August 2018.

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