Sarcastic Fringehead Facts
- Perhaps most notably, the uniquely-named Sarcastic Fringehead remains one of the most extraordinary species of fish in the world. This surprising statement holds true for several reasons that might surprise you. Firstly, the animal evolved as an extremely aggressive creature. However, this characteristic predominantly shows itself in terms of territorial behavior.
- Secondly, the manner in which it displays this territoriality also remains highly distinctive. That’s because, when two individuals struggle for dominance, they lock their mouths together, as if kissing. But, this action actually allows them to determine which of the two represents the larger individual. This establishes which is the dominant one.
- Yet, while its aggressiveness mostly reveals itself during such battles for dominance, it also displays in other ways. That’s due to the fact that the animal will also not hesitate to attack virtually any creature entering what it considers its territory. Further, the Sarcastic Fringehead extends this reaction to any intruder, regardless of its physical size.
- This amazing saltwater fish also appears to be extremely hardy, as well. Not being commercially fished further provides it an advantage over some species. As a result, its numbers appear to be stable. Therefore, the IUCN currently lists it as a Species of Least Concern. However, it must be considered to face the same looming threat of climate change as other species.
Sarcastic Fringehead Physical Description
The Sarcastic Fringehead displays only a very tiny degree of the trait of sexual dimorphism. Therefore, adult specimens of both genders sometimes attain a length of as much as 12 in (30.5 cm). But, an average adult size measures a length of around 8 in (20 cm). Yet, exceptional individuals occur.
Both genders of the astounding creature also display the same general body shape. That shape typically develops as quite slender and highly elongated. In addition, the head of each individual appears as quite large in comparison with the body. The lips of the impressive fish also remain quite prominent.
Furthermore, the eyes most commonly have a bulging appearance to them. Not to be left out, the enormous jaw actually extends back past the eyes. The Sarcastic Fringehead also possesses numerous cirri over the eyes. Its eyesight remains extremely poor, perhaps contributing to its aggressiveness. The coloring typically shows as brown or gray, with blotches of pale green.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinoperygii
- Order: Blenniiformes
- Family: Chaenopsidae
- Genus: Neoclinus
- Species: N. blanchardi
Sarcastic Fringehead Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Not surprisingly, the Sarcastic Fringehead occupies an unusually specific habitat. That’s because the species lives almost exclusively along open areas of coastline. Further, it only appears within a coastal zone stretching from Baja to San Francisco, California, in the United States, in North America.
In addition, the highly aggressive creature also has very specific habitat preferences. That’s due to the fact that it only inhabits regions of either hard mud bottoms or loose sand. Furthermore, these required regions must lie between 10-240 ft (3-73 m) in depth, as well as outside the breaker zone.
This astounding animal also appears to be highly opportunistic in its choice of shelters. Unfortunately, this will even include human trash items, such as cans and bottles. Also, once it claims a specific shelter, the individual Sarcastic Fringehead will grow to fill the shelter, up to its maximum growth size.
It evolved as an ambush predator, generally lying in wait from within its shelter. At this time, only the head of the fish remains visible. Researchers know very little about its preferred prey. It remains believed to prey primarily upon small crustaceans who blunder too close to its shelter. Finally, when under threat, the incredibly large jaws gape wide, in an attempt to intimidate the opponent.