Southern Stargazer

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Project Description

Southern Stargazer

Astroscopus y-graecum

Range/Geographical Distribution: North Carolina south to the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan.

Habitat: Sandy bottoms near shores. 

Description: Body brownish with many small white spots.  Pectoral fins black and lined in white.  Three brown/black stripes on the tail. 

Size: Can reach 22 inches in length.

Food: Eats small fish as they swim over the buried stargazer’s mouth.

Breeding:   Spawning occurs during late spring and early summer.  Females release small eggs that float to the surface.

Predators:  Sharks and larger predatory fishes. 

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Astroscopus means “one who aims at the stars” in Latin. Stargazers can create electrical currents using an organ located in a pouch behind their eyes. This electrical discharge reaches a maximum of 50 volts and is primarily used for defense rather than prey capture.

On the Coast: Southern stargazers can be found buried in the sand along coastal Georgia’s beaches and estuaries.

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