Prepare for National Sarcastic Fringehead Day

In honor of National Sarcastic Fringehead Day on October 30, we’ve made the sarcastic fringehead available for adoption for a limited time through the end of October. Don’t miss an opportunity to contribute to this unusual fish’s care. The Aquadoption also includes a yearlong membership to Heal the Bay and free family admission to our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for the year. Learn more about this species below, from guest blogger Jenna Segal, the Aquarium’s volunteer coordinator.

One of our favorite creatures here at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is the sarcastic fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi). This is a type of fish usually found in rocky reef and kelp forest habitats. Fringeheads range from Northern California down to central Baja California, and usually reach a size of 30.5 cm (12 in). Their diet consists primarily of crustaceans, octopuses, crabs and shrimp. Neoclinus are solitary and very territorial. They like to live in a small shelter, and have been found in a variety of habitats ranging from shells, rock crevices, worm tubes and beer bottles.

When another sarcastic fringehead starts encroaching on an individual fringehead’s territory, they will wrestle one another by opening their mouths wide and aggressively pressing them together–this determines which fish is bigger and therefore more dominant. During reproduction, females will lay eggs in holes, shells, rocks, etc. but the males guard the nest. Our juvenile fringehead is currently on exhibit in the Jewel Tanks found in the Kids’ Corner section of the Aquarium, and a larger fringehead can be found in a turban snail shell, across the gallery in the Sandy Bottom Exhibit.