Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

EspaƱol  Contact

Family: URANOSCOPIDAE, Stargazers

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D1: 0-V
LL straight
gill openings wide, reach under head
behind operculum: large spine
pelvic I, 5, under throat



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, with two endemic species in two genera in the eastern Pacific and in our region.