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Species: Astroscopus guttatus, Northern Stargazer

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Y bone on nape short & broad
white spots on head & body variable in size
C: central dark stripe usually extends onto tail base

Astroscopus guttatus Abbott, 1860

Northern Stargazer

Body robust; head large, broad, flattened above, partly covered with skin and bony plates, but without spines; a pair of electric organs under 2 triangular to square scaleless areas behind eyes; rear end of rear nostril groove usually closer to rear end of skin over electric organs than to eye, or not much closer to eye; Y shaped process on top of nape short and broad; eyes small on top of head; front nostril round, before eye; rear nostril extended as a crescent shaped groove behind eye; both nostrils with fringed margins; mouth large, vertical, fringed; spine behind upper corner of operculum blunt and skin covered, not obvious; 2 close-together dorsal fins, III-IV sharp spines; + I, 13-15; anal rays 0, 13-14; pectoral 19-21; body covered with scales; scales in midlateral series about 80.

Greyish brown; a large elongate black blotch on each side of chin; tip of lower jaw and upper half of head and back with many irregular white spots of variable size, with larger spots at rear of body; spiny dorsal fin black; soft dorsal fin with ~4 oblique dark bars (1 in juveniles, 3 in adults); anal fin with a black stripe; tail fin white, with ~3 black stripes, the central stripe usually extending forwards along the center of the tail base.

Size: grows to 55 cm.

Inhabits inshore sandy bottoms.

Depth range: 2-36 m.

New York to Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 55
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 36