July 3, 2013

Wlidlife Wednesday: The Stargazer

Sand Stargazer, Dactylagnus:
Picture Credit: Bing.com Images

These cute fish have eyes on top of their heads and a large upward facing mouth.  They are venomous fish and can actually cause electric shocks.
Picture Credit: Bing.com Images

The Stargazer body has a uniform, tan, freckled pattern without defined bars or blotches. The Stargazer is white below, and the underside of the head is silvery. They have a large head, bluntly rounded head profile, and oblique, short lower jaw. The body of this fish tapers to the tail. The anal and dorsal fins are long and continuous with the start of the dorsal behind the start of the anal fin.
Picture Credit: Bing.com Images

This fish species is a member of the Dactyloscopidae Family of sand stargazers. They all have eyes without stalks on the top of the head, tubular nostrils, an upturned mouth, and a protruding, tubular lower jaw. They are seldom seen by humans since they are "lie-in-wait" predators.
Picture Credit: Bing.com Images

They spend their time buried in the sand with only their eyes, snout and mouths exposed, waiting for small fish and invertebrates to come within range so they can attack. 46 species of stargazers have been identified globally. They usually inhabit southern Australian waters in the 400-900 meter depth range, they can reach 70cm in length, and they can weigh up to 10 pounds. If you are feeling adventurous and would like to taste one of these little creatures, they are said to have a unique texture and flavor. The slightly chewy texture and mild flavor with a slight sweetness has made it very popular and earned it the nickname "poor man's lobster."

Picture Credit: Bing.com Images

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