Okay, this is going to haunt you for a night or two. Scientifically known as Astrocopus, refers to someone who aims at the stars. Star gazer fish have derived their names, by their appearance that suggests that they are gazing at the stars. The stargazers belong to the family Uranoscopidae of perciform fish. Below are some amazing stargazer fish facts complemented by their mind-squelching photos.
Researchers have found speckled olive green, brown and white stargazers. Stargazers have enormous mouth and watchful eyes on their head that are aptly suited for their burying habit. Normally, stargazers measure up to 8-10 inches (20-25 cm), but are capable of catching prey that are 20-22 inches (50-55 cm) longer than them.
They mostly breed during the spring and summer. The stargazers belong to the perciform fish from the Uranoscopidae family. They are about 50 species in 8 genera in total, which are found worldwide in shallow waters. For feeding, they usually target other fishes and invertebrates such as crabs. They reside in the depths of an ocean at, 25 to 1,200 feet (8- 365 meters) deep. Their distribution encompasses almost all seas and oceans on the planet as they thrive in both tropical and temperate water.
They have developed delicate strategies to attract a meal compared to other kinds of fish. They burry themselves in sand, flapping their gills, causing the sand to stir which puts others under the impression that there is a small creature burrowed. Hiding under the sand, keeping only their eyes and mouth observable, they tend to rotate their eyes freely to further tease their prey into believing that there is a meal secretly veiling itself below the sand. As soon as the prey approaches to investigate, they plunge upwards startlingly fast and grab hold of it with their mouth. This way, they spend most of their time buried in the substrate. Burying also acts as a defense for them as this process helps them to be camouflaged and perfectly blend to their surrounding environment.
They are inoffensive as long as they are not disturbed or provoked. They are believed to deliver electric jolts through an electric organ that is situated behind their eye. The effect of these electric shocks is greater when taken out of the water. This electric charge helps them to wade off predators and confuse their prey. In addition to all this, they have a venomous spine behind their gills.
They lay tiny translucent eggs at the bottommost point of the sea. Eventually, the eggs start floating to the surface of the water, where they hatch into larvae of stargazer fish. They linger on the top of the water, until they reach the size of 12-15 millimeters (0.5 – 0.6 inch) in length. Once they grow up to matured adult stargazer fish, they swim back to the depths of the water.
Watch this amazing video, to observe their amazing burying tactics.