Sarcastic fringehead

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Sarcastic fringehead
Sarcastic Fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi) at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.jpg
Sarcastic Fringehead at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Blenniiformes
Family: Chaenopsidae
Genus: Neoclinus
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.[2] 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.[3]

They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long,[4] elegant and slender,[2] and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. The swimming movements of these fish are complicated. Their swimming consists of short, fast, dart-like movements.[5]

They are generally brown in color. Sarcastic fringeheads are a species of tube blenny and tend to hide inside shells or crevices, though some have been found living in man-made objects such as a soda can.[6] 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).[4]

The specific name honours Dr. S. B. Blanchard of San Diego, California, who collected specimens of this blenny, and passed them on to Charles Frédéric Girard, who described it.[7]


  1. ^ Williams, J.T.; Craig, M.T. (2014). "Neoclinus blanchardi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T185133A1770082. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T185133A1770082.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Sarcastic Fringehead: Neoclinus blanchardi". Aquarium of the Pacific.
  3. ^ Denny, Mark; Steven Gaines (2002). Chance in Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0691094942.
  4. ^ a b Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2013). "Neoclinus blanchardi" in FishBase. February 2013 version.
  5. ^ Hongjamrassilp, W. (2018). Heterochrony in fringeheads (neoclinus) and amplification of an extraordinary aggressive display in the sarcastic fringehead (teleostei: Blenniiformes). Journal of Morphology (1931), 279(5) Retrieved from
  6. ^ "Sarcastic Fringehead". Oceana. Oceana. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  7. ^ Christopher Scharpf; Kenneth J. Lazara (10 November 2018). "Order BLENNIIFORMES: Families CLINIDAE, LABRISOMIDAE and CHAENOPSIDAE". ETYFish Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 15 April 2019.

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