(Horrific) Animal of the day


Name: Neoclinus blanchardi or “spectacularly ugly” in scientific literature, is a fish belonging to the Chaenopsidae family. It has a very large mouth and behaves very aggressively when another male is in its territory.

Habitat: This fish enjoys the subtropical climate. It can be found in the waters of the Pacific, off the coasts of North America (towards San Francisco, in the United States) as well as Baja California (in Mexico). It lives between 3 to 73 meters deep.

Size: Adults do not exceed 30 cm in length..

Way of life: These fish live hidden either in shells, rocky crevices, the refuge of other animals, or even in garbage from civilization such as bottles and tires. These fish also dig holes in the seafloor to be protected and have a good vantage point to catch their prey.


Neoclinus blanchardi is a very aggressive predator that hunts on the prowl. It only hunts on its territory which is why it defends it with great ferocity. This fish has very poor eyesight, attacking before realising what it is about to eat.

It is during the breeding season that N. blanchardi is most aggressive. That’s because the female comes to lay her eggs on the male’s territory which means that without territory it cannot mate.

When two males confront each other, the fight begins with intimidation, the two fish threatening each other by opening their gigantic jaws made of thin, sharp teeth. If neither of them gives in, the altercation begins and turns into a real kissing fight as they push each other with their big mouths.

The laying season for Neoclinus blanchardi is between January and August. It is the male who keeps the eggs safe by holding them in its mouth. In the event that he is attacked, he drops them off before deploying his defense weapon. The eggs, being light and having adhesive filaments, the eggs can be attached to any surface.

Written by Pénélope Martinez
Translated by Nour El Ghazal