Northern Stargazer, Astroscopus guttatus

The northern stargazer (Astroscopus guttatus) is a species of fish inhabiting the shores between North Carollina and New York, United States. It can be found to depths of 120 feet on sandy bottoms. The scientific name translates as Astroscopus, meaning “one who aims at the stars,” and guttatus, meaning “speckled” for the spots on the fish’s back.

The length of the northern stargazer can reach 22 inches. It has a flat forehead with most of its body weight toward the head. The mouth faces up so when they are buried in the sand they can ambush its prey as it swims by. The color of the stargazer’s skin is blackish brown with uniformly sized white spots on its head and back. There are three dark stripes horizontally on its white tail. In its eye sockets, there are organs that can release an electric shock.

The eggs of the stargazer are laid on the bottom but will float to the surface after being released. Once the larvae is hatched it will slowly develop a dark color along with the electric organs from eye muscles. Once this is accomplished they will swim to the bottom and grow into adults.

Image Caption: Northern stargazer (Astroscopus guttatus). Credit: Canvasman21/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)