Family: URANOSCOPIDAE, Stargazers
Stargazers are medium sized fishes (to ~ 55 cm) that have a large robust, somewhat flattened head with the eyes on top; body progessively becomes more compressed posteriorly; mouth large, strongly oblique to vertical, with fringed lips; gill openings wide, almost joined under head; a large, spine, blunt and skin covered or sharply pointed and double-grooved (equipped with a venom gland at the base), immediately above the pectoral fin and behind the opercle; dorsal and anal fins long based, dorsal without spines or with III-V spines; anal fin no spines; pelvic fins I (sometimes under skin), 5, under throat; lateral line high on body, complete. Members of the genus Astroscopus have electric organs formed from modified eye muscles, and can deliver a shock of up to 50 volts.
The family is distributed worldwide in tropical and warm temperate seas. They occur in shallow coastal waters as well as deeper parts of continental shelves. There are approximately eight genera and 50 species. In the Greater Caribbean there are two endemic species, 1 NW Atlantic and 1 W Atlantic.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER CARPENTER (2002)