Blennys

There is a suborder of fish called blennioids or blennys of which there are over 800 species. They generally have elongated bodies and some resemble eels. They also have relatively large eyes and large mouths.

One species of blennys is called the sarcastic fringehead (Neoclinus blanchardi). They are slender and can grow up to 12 inches (30 cm) long. They live in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America from San Francisco, California, to Baja California in Mexico. The name “fringehead” comes from whisker-like structures around their heads. The name “sarcastic” is because of their behavior.

Sarcastic fringeheads hide inside crevices or shells until food comes swimming by. Once they stake out a vacant shell to use as their base, they are aggressively territorial. They wrestle any other fringehead that tries to move into their territory. Their method of fighting is interesting. They press their open mouths together almost as if they are kissing. The winner of the battle is the one with the larger mouth, and therefore the larger body. The larger one takes dominance, and the other one has to leave to find another territory.

These blennys display their sarcasm toward others with their “get out of here” attitude. After all, they are just fish, and they don’t know any better. Humans demonstrate sarcasm using words that hurt and offend. We should know better because God created us to be more than fish. We were created in the spiritual image of God and “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
© Roland Earnst

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