Sarcastic fringeheads can be found along the Pacific Coast from San Francisco, California to central Baja California, Mexico (Eschmeyer 1983).
Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )
Sarcastic fringeheads are the largest of all fringeheads (Eschmeyer 1983). They can grow to be 30.0 cm in length (Williams 2000). They possess the clinid family characteristics of a long dorsal fin, as well as wavy, fringe-like cirri on their heads ("PBS: Sea Dwellers" 2000). They are specifically known for their extremely large mouths. This is due, in part, to their characteristically long maxillary that extends nearly to the back edge of the gill cover (Gotshall 1989).
The bodies of the sarcastic fringeheads are long, slender and compressed. They possess unbranched pectoral fin rays (CALCOFI 1996). In addition, the dorsal fins extend continuously from the head to the base of the tail fin. Further, the anal fin extends from vent to the base of the tail fin (Barnhart 1936).
Fringeheads are generally brownish-gray and typically mottled with either red or green patches ("A Learning Link to the Aquarium of the Pacific" 2000). The dorsal spines possess two ocelli, one between the first and second spines, and the other between the fifth and ninth spines (Gotshall 1989). These ocelli are generally blue and outlined by a yellow ring ("A Learning Link to the Aquarium of the Pacific" 2000).
Other Physical Features: bilateral symmetry
Catalog Number: USNM 691
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): D. Blanchard
Year Collected: 1849
Locality: Coast of Cala., Off San Diego., California, United States, Pacific
- Type: 1858. Reports of explorations and surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. 10: 114.
Sarcastic fringeheads are found in a demersal, marine environment (Williams 2000). They occupy depths ranging from three to sixty-one meters. (Gotshall 1989). Fringeheads can be found in a subtropical climate typically around 38* C (Williams 2000).
More specifically, sarcastic fringeheads can be found along the exposed coast of the Pacific Ocean. At times, they can be seen on the sand or the mud bottom below low tide (Williams 2000) Typically, they occupy empty shells, abandoned holes and crevices ("PBS: Sea Dwellers" 2000). In some areas they even take up residence in old cans and bottles. In fact, in the "beer bottle field" of Santa Monica Bay, nearly every bottle is a home to a fringehead ("A Learning Link to the Aquarium of the Pacific" 2000).
Aquatic Biomes: coastal
From 3 to 61 meters.
Habitat: demersal. Usually occurs on exposed coast, on sand or hard mud bottom below low tide, rarer in bays. Usually found inside objects, especially mollusk shells, clam burrows and bottles. Female deposits eggs in clam burrows or under rocks, male guards them.
Sarcastic fringeheads are omnivores. They consume roughly 13.6 times their body weight per year (Williams 2000).
Life History and Behavior
Perception Channels: tactile ; chemical
Sarcastic fringeheads generally spawn from January to August. They are oviparous creatures. The female lays her eggs in what is usually an abandoned burrow. It is then the task of the male to guard the nest that is attached to the wall of the shelter (CALCOFI 1996).
The eggs are typically 0.9 to 1.5 mm in diameter. Each egg has an oil globule component as well as filaments by which they are attached both to the nest itself as well as to the other eggs (CALCOFI 1996).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Neoclinus blanchardi
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Neoclinus blanchardi
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
With the exception of attacking humans that intrude into their space, sarcastic fringeheads are considered harmless (Williams 2000).
The sarcastic fringehead, Neoclinus blanchardi, is a small but ferocious fish which has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behavior, for which it has been given its common name. 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.
They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long, elongate and slender, and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. They tend to hide inside shells or crevices. After the female spawns under a rock or in clam burrows the male guards the eggs.
- Denny, Mark; Steven Gaines (2002). Chance in Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0691094942.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Neoclinus blanchardi" in FishBase. February 2013 version.
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