This fish possesses a special talent: it is able to create weak electrical currents from a specialized organ located behind the eyes. Northern stargazer (English), aranhuco (Portuguese), bezmek (Serbian), cabecudo (Portuguese), kurbaga baligi (Turkish), lychnos (Greek), pesce prete (Italian), rata (Spanish), skaber amerykanski (Polish), sterngucker (German), stjarnkikare (Swedish), and taivaantahystaja (Finnish). They hatch into larvae which grow up to 6–7 mm (0.24–0.28 in). The body is moderately elongate. Pictures were sent in by different people. The nostrils are protected from sand grains by fleshy, comb-shaped fringes. Masks are required at all times. My first encounter with a northern stargazer resulted in a pulse of electricity down my whole right arm!!!! Stargazers have the unique ability to produce an electric shock from an organ located between their eyes on the top of their head. Top of head and body has small, closely spaced white dots. It can bury itself in seconds. Its main function is to protect the stargazer from anything that may pose a threat to the well being of the fish. According to the exceptionally cool ‘Monsters of the Deep’ (see credits), the stargazer shock is approximately 50 volts. The gill slit is narrow and drawn backwards and upwards into a short, baggy tube. The Northern Stargazers live primarily along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. At this length the larvae will migrate to the bottom and become a true juvenile. The stargazer does this by filling the tissues behind the eyes with liquid. The Florida Museum is open! Guttatus is also Latin for “speckled”, referring to the white spots on this fish.Prepared by: Casey Patton. Fishes in the Fresh Waters of Florida Gallery. The eyes, gill slits, nostrils and most of its mouth are on the top of its body, and its pectoral fins are adept at digging and burying. Three dark, horizontal lines appear on its tail. The mouth also has these fringes around it to keep sand out while the fish is buried. Astroscopus guttatus (northern stargazer) is a fish that can reach lengths of 22 inches (56 cm) and is found on the Atlantic shores between the states of North Carolina and New York in the United States. The northern stargazer lives primarily along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The blackish-brown body is covered with white spots that gradually increase in size towards the rear of the body. It's flattened body can grow to 22 inches in length, but it averages 8 to 18 inches in length. It inhabits sandy bottoms of the temperate waters of the western Atlantic, ranging from North Carolina to New York. True to its benthic nature, the northern stargazer spawns on the bottom during the late spring and early summer months. The mouth of the stargazer faces up so that it can ambush prey while hiding in the sandy bottoms of coastal bodies of water.  Their eyes are situated on top of the head and poke up through the sand, hence the name stargazer. The diet of the northern stargazer consists of smaller fish that are unlucky enough to swim near it. Adults may reach 22 inches (56 cm) in length, but are more common at lengths of 8-18 inches (20-46 cm). The Northern Stargazer Astroscopus guttatus whiles away the long lazy days lying mostly buried by sand, the stargazy eyes on top of its head picking out prey – mostly small fish – to ambush and stuff into its bizarre YKK zip-mouth. SUBSCRIBE NOW. Northern stargazer (English), aranhuco (Portuguese), bezmek (Serbian), cabecudo (Portuguese), kurbaga baligi (Turkish), lychnos (Greek), pesce prete (Italian), rata (Spanish), skaber amerykanski (Polish), sterngucker (German), stjarnkikare (Swedish), and taivaantahystaja (Finnish). After this they swim to the bottom and grow into adults. Stargazers have a flat forehead with a lot of body mass up front near the mouth. The eyes, which were on the side of the larval head, will also migrate to the top of the head. It is a dark blackish-brown with white spots on head and body, and striped fins, and it can grow to almost 22 inches long. Save 97%. Abbott (1860) described the northern stargazer as Astroscopus guttatus. The Northern Stargazer has a face only a mother could love and an electric shock to boot. If approached by a diver, it generally will not move unless disturbed. The northern stargazer buries itself and then ambushes its prey! It is found inshore, at depths to 120 feet (36 m). The stargazer instead relies on its camouflage and lies in wait for a small fish to swim near it. Juvenile stargazers tend to move inshore to sandy bays, where they may stay for several years. The electric organs begin to form when the larvae reach about 12-15 mm in length. The top of the Stargazer has electric organs in the orbitae which can generate and transmit an electric shock.  The 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. The northern stargazer has a blackish brown body with white spots that are of the same size all over its head and back. I have been shocked about a dozen times by them. The northern stargazer was first described by Charles Conrad Abbott in 1860.. These eggs hatch into small, transparent larvae that live in the water column. 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). SUBSCRIBE NOW. The top of the stargazer has electric organs in the orbitae which can generate and transmit an electric shock. On the northern stargazer, this stripe extends onto the rear portion of the body; on the southern stargazer this stripe does not extend pass the tail. Its pectoral fins act as shovels, enabling the fish to bury itself in a matter of seconds. It has three dark horizontal stripes on its (white) tail. That is the only region that can shock you, and the fish must also be wet. When they reach this length, the yolk sack has been completely consumed and the larvae begin feeding on other larvae in the water column, including some of their own kind. The eyes and nostrils are strategically located on the top of the head so that they will remain above the sand when the fish is buried. It doesn't really hurt, it's more of a tingle that runs up to about your elbow. Also, as stated, they do not ACTUALLY have teeth. An adult stargazer may grow to nearly 2-foot of concealed eating machine. The eggs are small, transparent, and slowly float to the surface. An easy way to tell these two species apart is to note the middle stripe on the tail. Stargazers lay small, transparent eggs on the bottoms of bays. These pelagic larvae grow rapidly, feeding off the yolk sac until they reach about 6-7 mm in length. The northern stargazer has a blackish-brown body with white spots that gradually get bigger from its head to its tail. The northern stargazer has a blackish brown body with white spots that are of the same size all over its head and back. Both of these pictures are of a Northern Stargazer. Learn how and when to remove this template message, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T47153800A47461926.en, http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/StarGazerNorth/StarGazeNorth.htm, Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Astroscopus_guttatus&oldid=983378621, Articles needing additional references from August 2007, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 October 2020, at 22:27. Coloration Northern stargazers live primarily along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Size They also begin to acquire a black color that deepens with time. $1 for 3 months. The juveniles will develop the characteristic patterns of the adults during the time spent in the sandy bays. Distinctive Features Fun Fact: The northern stargazer can deliver an electric shock. Its mouth and eyes are located on the top of its large head, facing upward. The electrical organ is not used to capture prey. It has completely adapted to spending most of its life buried in sand, waiting to ambush its prey and gulp it down whole.