Astroscopus guttatus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Northern stargazer
Northern Stargazer.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Uranoscopidae
Genus: Astroscopus
Species: A. guttatus
Binomial name
Astroscopus guttatus
Abbott, 1860

Astroscopus guttatus (northern stargazer) is a fish that can reach lengths of 22 inches (56 cm) and are located on the eastern shores between the states of North Carolina and New York in the United States. The northern stargazer can be found up to depths of 120 feet (37 m). Stargazers have a flat forehead with a lot of body mass up front near the mouth.


The northern stargazer has a blackish brown body with white spots that are of the same size all over its head and back. It has three dark horizontal stripes on its (white) tail. The mouth of the stargazer faces up so that it can ambush prey while hiding in the sandy bottoms of coastal bodies of water. The top of the stargazer has electric organs in the orbitae [1] which can generate and transmit an electric shock.


The northern stargazer lives primarily along the eastern seaboard of the United States. They bury themselves in the sand and wait for prey (usually smaller fish) to come by.[2] Their eyes are situated on top of the head and poke up through the sand, hence the name stargazer.[3] Stargazer's scientific name is Astroscopus guttatus where Astroscopus means "one who aims at the stars" and guttatus translating into "speckled" – referring to the white spots on the fish's back.

Life cycle[edit]

The stargazer lays small, transparent eggs on the bottom of the bay. These eggs float to the surface after they are released. They hatch into larvae and grow up to 6–7 mm (0.24–0.28 in). They slowly grow a dark coloring and develop the electrical organs from eye muscles when they are 12–15 mm (0.5–0.6 in). After this they swim to the bottom and grow into adults.


The northern stargazer was first described by Charles Conrad Abbott in 1860.[4][5]


  1. ^ U. Dahlgren & C. F. Silvester (1906). "The electric organ of the stargazer, Astroscopus (Brevoort)". Anatomischer Anzeiger. 29: 387–403. 
  2. ^ Biology:
  3. ^ I. R. Schwab (2004). "If looks could kill…". British Journal of Ophthalmology. 88 (12): 1486. doi:10.1136/bjo.2004.057232. PMC 1772429free to read. PMID 15587500. 
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Astroscopus guttatus" in FishBase. April 2006 version.
  5. ^ Charles C. Abbott (1860). "Description of a new species of Astroscopus, Brev., in the Museum of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 12: 365. 

External links[edit]