Barthropods seeking silverfish

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a complex composition in which two centipedes look for bar snacks:

(#1) First bit of language play: the portmanteau barthropod = bar + arthropod, centipedes being arthropods, creatures in the gigantic phylum Arthropoda — also encompassing insects (including silverfish and springtails as well as flies, butterflies and moths, beetles, and more), spiders. crustaceans (among them, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and barnacles), and millipedes (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

Then there’s a more subtle bit of language play in silverfish serving as bar snacks in a world in which centipedes drink in bars — given that Goldfish crackers (gold fish, silver fish, bring out the bronze) are often served as bar snacks in the real world.

(I note that the Eurasian carp species Carassius auratus, commonly called goldfish (because it is frequently golden in color), and the insect species with the metaphorical common name silverfish both have compound names that are fixed in their spelling, as solid — rather than hyphenated (gold-fish, silver-fish) or separated (gold fish, silver fish) — no doubt because their names aren’t semantically transparent.)

Centipedes. From Wikipedia:

(#2) There are a great many species of centipedes, including several found in house and garden; this is Scutigera coleoptrata (Wikipedia photo)

Centipedes (from Neo-Latin centi-, “hundred”, and Latin pes, pedis, “foot”) are predatory arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda … of the subphylum Myriapoda, an arthropod group which includes millipedes and other multi-legged animals. Centipedes are elongated segmented (metameric) creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. All centipedes are venomous and can inflict painful bites, injecting their venom through pincer-like appendages known as forcipules. Despite the name, no centipede has exactly 100 pairs of legs; [the] number of legs ranges from 15 pairs to 191 pairs, always an odd number.

… Centipedes are predominantly generalist predators, which means they are adapted to eat a broad range of prey, including lumbricid earthworms, dipteran fly larvae, and collembolans [springtails] [and also silverfish].

The centipedes in #1. Wayno has drawn these so as to clearly differentiate them. Maybe they’re of different species (see above) — bars do often collect a variety of customers — or maybe they’re a larger gray male, with stiff antennae (on the left), and a smaller, more colorful female, with larger eyes and more graceful antennae (on the right). Even centipedes can be gendered along human lines, at least in cartoons.

Goldfish crackers as bar snacks. From the WSIL-tv site, “Goldfish is chasing a new demographic: Grown-ups” by DanielleWiener-Bronner, CNN Business, on 1/20/22:

Goldfish is growing up.

Pepperidge Farm, which makes the crackers, is rolling out a new line of snacks called Goldfish Mega Bites, which is designed to appeal to adults. Mega Bites come in two flavors: Sharp Cheddar and Cheddar Jalapeno.

… Pepperidge Farm launched Goldfish in the United States in 1962. At first, the snacks were targeted toward adults: Early on, the crackers were marketed as a bar snack, said [Janda Lukin, Chief Marketing Officer at Campbell Snacks].

Then from the The Mermaid NYC site — the Mermaid Inn oyster bar restaurant in the West Village — with a photo:

(#3) Goldfish are our bar snacks.

Wayno’s title. As so often, it’s yet another, different,  joke on the content of the Bizarro strip, playing on our venture into the insect world:

“They [AZ: the centipedes] already ate the barflies”

Centipedes do eat flies, and fly larvae, so, sadly, the centipedes in #1 might savagely ingest any fly that happened into that bar. But barfly is metaphorical, referring to (human) habitués of bars, who are presumably safe from the venom of house and garden centipedes, even those that frequent dive bars. (In any case, the bar in #1 looks pretty tony.)

From NOAD:

compound noun barflyinformal a person who spends much time drinking in bars: a beer-swilling barfly.

Note that this barfly is to be pronounced as a compound noun — /bár flàj/ — not as a manner adverbial /bárfli/ on a base noun / verb barf ‘vomit, puke’.

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