06 May 2012

This is a sarcastic fringehead - updated with video

"...a ferocious fish which has a large mouth and aggressive territorial behaviour. They can be up to 30 centimetres (12 in) wide and are mostly scaleless with great pectoral fins and reduced pelvic fins. With highly compressed bodies, some may be so widened as to appear eel-like. They tend to hide inside shells or crevices. After the female spawns under a rock or in clam burrows the male guards the eggs. They are found in the Pacific, off the coast of North America, from San Francisco, California, to central Baja California and their depth range is from 3 to 73 metres (9.8 to 240 ft)."
What a name (scientifically, it is Neoclinus Blanchardi).  What an impressive mouth.  More information here.

Via Aquatic Adventures and A London Salmagundi.

Addendum:  A bit hat tip to an anonymous reader who provided the link for this David Attenborough narration about the sarcastic fringehead.  It's worth the three minutes:

The cynic in me thinks it wasn't a lucky coincidence that those two inhabited shells at the end happened to be so close together - but it does make for some impressive video.


  1. Just for one awful moment there I read that as they're between 3m and 73m long. Eek!

    They sound like something Dr Seuss would have thought up.

    1. Same here re the size.

      Excellent David Attenborough video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRV961d0TP4

      After watching this all i can imagine is an epic 20 thousand leagues under the sea meets Japanese monster movie mash-up.

    2. Thank you, anonymous. I've added the video to the post.

  2. One of my favorite common names that sound like eccentric insults. I also like the tawny frogmouth for this.

    1. Mental note, stop reading Tywkiwdbi just before bed.

      And yeah Tawny Frogmouths are cool. I live in Sydney and they very occasionally rest/search for mice from vantage points around the neighbourhood. Twice I've had the sensation of being watched by something, turned my head very slowly, and seen a Frogmouth about 16 inches from me just on the other side of the window.

      I've also managed to get a single decent shot of them at night. Not quite as fierce as the fish above but it is quite a 'unique' feeling having a bird of prey evaluate you for being edible at night.

    2. I'll bet after your camera flash met his widely dilated pupils, that he decided not to spy on you in the future. :.)

    3. It was a ten second exposure, not a flash, with him staring directly at me the whole time. Hence the night sky being almost white. I did illuminate him another time with a torch (aka 'flash light' but not a camera flash) http://www.flickr.com/photos/danack/5622159548/ . Although he didn't particularly like it, he's been around since then.


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