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Stargazer (fish)

provided by wikipedia EN

The stargazers are a family, Uranoscopidae, of perciform fish that have eyes on top of their heads (hence the name). The family includes about 51 species (one extinct) in eight genera, all marine and found worldwide in shallow and deep saltwaters.[1]

In addition to the top-mounted eyes, a stargazer also has a large, upward-facing mouth in a large head. Their usual habit is to bury themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey (benthic fish and invertebrates) that pass overhead. Some species have a worm-shaped lure growing out of the floors of their mouths, which they can wiggle to attract prey's attention. Both the dorsal and anal fins are relatively long; some lack dorsal spines. Lengths range from 18 up to 90 cm, for the giant stargazer Kathetostoma giganteum.

Stargazers are venomous; they have two large venomous spines situated behind their opercles and above their pectoral fins. The species within the genera Astroscopus and Uranoscopus can also cause electric shocks. Astroscopus species have a single electric organ consisting of modified eye muscles, while Uranoscopus species have theirs derived from sonic muscles.[2] These two genera within stargazers are out of eight total independent evolutions of bioelectrogenesis.[2] They are also unique among electric fish in not possessing specialized electroreceptors.[3]

Stargazers are a delicacy in some cultures (the venom is not poisonous when eaten), and they can be found for sale in some fish markets with the electric organ removed. Because stargazers are ambush predators which camouflage themselves and some can deliver both venom and electric shocks, they have been called "the meanest things in creation."[4]

Genera

Timeline

References

  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Uranoscopidae" in FishBase. May 2006 version.
  • Gomon, M.F.; Roberts, C.D. (2011). "A second New Zealand species of the stargazer genus Kathetostoma (Trachinoidei: Uranoscopidae)". Zootaxa. 2776: 1–12.
  1. ^ Bray, Dianne. "Family URANOSCOPIDAE". Fishes of Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Alves-Gomes, J.A. (2001). "The evolution of electroreception and bioelectrogenesis in teleost fish: a phylogenetic perspective". Journal of Fish Biology. 58 (6): 1489–1511. doi:10.1006/jfbi.2001.1625.
  3. ^ Alves-Gomes, J. A. (2001). "The evolution of electroreception and bioelectrogenesis in teleost fish: a phylogenetic perspective". Journal of Fish Biology. 58 (6): 1489–1511. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2001.tb02307.x.
  4. ^ Grady, Denise Venom Runs Thick in Fish Families, Researchers Learn New York Times 22 August 2006.

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Stargazer (fish): Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The stargazers are a family, Uranoscopidae, of perciform fish that have eyes on top of their heads (hence the name). The family includes about 51 species (one extinct) in eight genera, all marine and found worldwide in shallow and deep saltwaters.

In addition to the top-mounted eyes, a stargazer also has a large, upward-facing mouth in a large head. Their usual habit is to bury themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey (benthic fish and invertebrates) that pass overhead. Some species have a worm-shaped lure growing out of the floors of their mouths, which they can wiggle to attract prey's attention. Both the dorsal and anal fins are relatively long; some lack dorsal spines. Lengths range from 18 up to 90 cm, for the giant stargazer Kathetostoma giganteum.

Stargazers are venomous; they have two large venomous spines situated behind their opercles and above their pectoral fins. The species within the genera Astroscopus and Uranoscopus can also cause electric shocks. Astroscopus species have a single electric organ consisting of modified eye muscles, while Uranoscopus species have theirs derived from sonic muscles. These two genera within stargazers are out of eight total independent evolutions of bioelectrogenesis. They are also unique among electric fish in not possessing specialized electroreceptors.

Stargazers are a delicacy in some cultures (the venom is not poisonous when eaten), and they can be found for sale in some fish markets with the electric organ removed. Because stargazers are ambush predators which camouflage themselves and some can deliver both venom and electric shocks, they have been called "the meanest things in creation."

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Description

provided by World Register of Marine Species
Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Scaleless or with small smooth scales. Large cuboidal head. Mouth strongly oblique, with fringed lips. Eyes dorsally located or nearly dorsal. Lateral line high. Pelvic fins jugular and very close to each other. One spine in pelvic fin; soft rays 5. Dorsal fin moderately long; many without spinous dorsal. Anal fin moderately long. Some species use a small vermiform filament originating from floor of mouth for attracting prey fish. Two large poison spines, with double-grooves and a poison gland basally, located behind opercle and above pectorals. Vertebrae 24-26. The genus Astroscopus with internal nostrils for inhalation and electric organs.
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bibliographic citation
MASDEA (1997).
Contributor
Edward Vanden Berghe [email]