stargazer

stargazer

[stahr-gey-zer]
stargazer, common name for any of several species of marine fishes of the family Uranoscopidae, found in southern waters, and having the mouth, nostrils, and eyes set high in the head. Stargazers lie buried in the sand, waiting for their prey of small crustaceans. Some species have electrical cells, developed from the optic nerve, capable of inflicting strong shocks. A closely related family (Dactyloscopidae) comprises the sand stargazers, which have eyes also set high in the head. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Stargazers of both families are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, families Uranoscopidae and Dactyloscopidae.

The stargazers are a family Uranoscopidae of perciform fish that have eyes on top of their heads (thus the name). The family includes about 50 species in 8 genera, all marine and found worldwide in shallow waters.

In addition to the top-mounted eyes, stargazers also have 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 floor of the mouth, 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 cm up to 90 cm, for the giant stargazer Kathetostoma giganteum.

Stargazers are venomous; they have two large poison spines situated behind the opercle and above the pectoral fins. They can also cause electric shocks.

Genera and species

Trivia

  • Stargazer is also the name for a mutant mouse line that contains a mutation of a gene encoding the protein, stargazin, a transmembrane protein that acts as an accessory subunit of mammalian glutamate receptors. Stargazer animals are ataxic, owing to deficits in cerebellar function, and manifest epileptic seizures.
  • In March 2004 BBC world reported a school of Stargazer fish eating a leopard who was drinking at a watering hole in Chicago zoo

References

External links

Search another word or see stargazeron Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature