A sarcastic fringehead… your first thought is probably that this is some kind of insult. But in reality, it’s the name of a fish. How could a fish earn such a low blow of a name? Well, once you learn a bit more, you’ll understand why.
The sarcastic fringehead is a tiny fish, usually measuring in at less than 10 inches. Don’t, however, let their size fool you. These are some of the most aggressive fish you’ll ever meet. If they see anything approaching the holes in which they burrow, they will charge. They pay no mind to the size or ferocity of the opponent and have absolutely no fear.
To dissect the name a bit, the first part, ‘sarcastic’, is obviously not about their sense of humour. It rather refers back to the old meaning of sarcastic; ‘flesh tearing’ or ‘to tear apart’. This pays homage to their vicious behaviour. The second part, fringehead, is talking about these small antenna like protrusions above their eyes.
You would think that such a small fish would be easy prey, but as of now, scientists know of almost no predators that hunt for these ferocious small fry. These fish will typically live up to 6 years and are presumed to survive on smaller fish and crustaceans.
One of the only animals foolish enough to get into a fight with a sarcastic fringehead is another sarcastic fringehead. These fish are able to open their mouths to frightening diameters, showing off their sharp teeth. They use this as an intimidation method. When two sarcastic fringeheads run into each other, they will bump their opens mouths together to compare size. The larger one displays its dominance and the other slinks off.
Should you be curious enough to want to see one of these little guys in the wild, you’ll have to go diving off of North America, California in particular. These tiny fish prove to be harmless to humans unless you should happen to put an exposed finger near one of their homes.
Two Sarcastic Fringeheads Fight