the sarcastic fringeheads

Wouldn’t that make a great name for a band?

Rather to my surprise, I’ve discovered that ‘sarcastic fringeheads’ are actually…

… fish!

I heard this from the daughter when she came home from an evening of watching David Attenborough videos with some friends, & so of course I had to learn more. First up was hunting down the video, which you’ll find here, if my embedding doesn’t work. (I love listening to Attenborough’s voice – it’s got to the point where, when I’m reading one of his books, I can hear his voice speaking the words in my mind.) The first thing that struck me about that clip wasn’t the fringehead itself but the wonderful bed of waving brittlestar arms surrounding it. Just glorious! But the fish… belligerent, beautifully coloured… that amazing gaping set of ‘lips’… and my, what a mouthful of sharp pointy teeth they have! 


Perhaps fortunately for divers, these fish are quite small – around 30cm long. What they lack in size, they seem to make up for in sheer aggression. But why ‘sarcastic fringeheads’? We talked about it over dinner with friends last night, & one friend suggested that it might have something to do with that mouthful of teeth. After all, ‘sarcastic’ means ‘cutting’ (& not in a nice sense), and the word ‘sarcasm’ was originally derived from a Greek word with the literal meaning ‘to strip off the flesh’. And I suppose ‘fringeheads’ may have something to do with those amazing flaps of skin & flesh that male fringeheads can project around their gaping mouths, using them in mouth-to-mouth combat with neighbouring territory owners..

I still think it would be a good name for a band, though 🙂 No, wait, someone’s already used it for the title of an album. Rats.

One thought on “the sarcastic fringeheads”

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    I shall inform your niece about the existence of the ‘Sarcastic Fringehead’ and see how she responds.

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