The Stargazer Fish: “Meanest Fish In Creation That Electrocutes It’s Prey” [VIDEO]
By: Joseph Simonds on July 18, 2016
“The meanest fish in creation…”
That is what many have called the Stargazer fish.
This odd-looking fish with the ability to electrocute other fish and eat them alive likes to bury itself and camouflage itself before going in for the attack.
Quite honestly, I had never heard of the stargazer fish until someone posted a “Fish ID” question in our private Salt Strong Facebook group (that ended up being a stargazer), and after doing some research, I knew this fish was too cool not to share with everyone.
And yes, someone in our Facebook group actually caught one of these fish!
Watch The Stargazer Fish Eat Fish Alive!
6 Interesting Things About The Stargazer Fish
What did you think about the video?
Pretty amazing fish, huh?
You could probably write a novel on this weird-looking and odd-behaving fish!
But after some research, we boiled it down to six interesting things about the stargazer that we wanted to share with you.
1. Distinct Eyes and Mouth
The Stargazer fish has eyes that are situated on top of its head, and the mouth is bigger than normal, facing upwards. Hence, the name stargazer that means gazing or “aiming at the stars.”
The scientific name, Astroscopus, means the same thing (aiming at the stars).
The northern stargazer or Astroscopus guttatus is found between the waters of the East Coast of America from New York all the way down to Florida (although usually found in North Carolina on up). They can be found in the sea depths of 37 meters and its length can be up to 24-inches.
With this set of eyes and mouth, the stargazer fish is one of the only fish in the entire sea that is always looking up to catch its prey.
2. Venomous Spines
Stargazers have two venomous spines that may cause electric shocks to their prey (and also to human divers in the deep).
Note: the terms poisonous and venomous are mistakenly used interchangeably when it comes to wildlife and marine life. Poisonous means that you need to touch or eat the animal for you to be poisoned as in a frog.
On the other hand, the term venomous is being used when an animal like a snake has to inject its venom to a human being to be attacked or affected.
So, stargazer fish is venomous, as it has a different approach to finding and killing its prey. The two venomous spines are its line of defense and offense as it skillfully and successfully find and feed on its target.
The venomous spines are located at the back of the opercles and at the top of their pectoral fins.
3. Scary Electric Shocks Behind the Eyes
Stargazers have another very unique characteristic which are the electric shocks behind their eyes.
The Stargazer fish is one of the marine bony fishes that are called bioelectrogenic. Another example is the striped catfish. These two out of the eight fishes evolved through electrobiogenesis.
Both of these species use these powerful electric shocks to ward off attackers or predators and at the same time attack their prey.
Want to learn how stargazer fish initiate and commence their attack and eat strategy? Keep reading…
4. Unpredictable Attacks While Buried & Camouflaged In The Sand
If you Google stargazer fish and search for images online, you will see how it buries itself in the sands in the depths of the waters and camouflages. In most of its pictures, you will only notice its eyes and mouths appearing in the sands (like the picture above).
This is how it captures its prey:
Stargazers have a highly programmed technique in discovering and digesting their meal. They mostly eat crabs, other fish, and other invertebrates (even those that are longer than they are).
They will bury themselves in the sand with only their eyes and mouths showing. They will camouflage or blend themselves in to their environment. As they do that, they will create chaos as they flap their gills giving the effect that a fish is being trapped underway.
As they are buried in the sands, they will intentionally rotate their big eyes attracting the attention of the prey that there is really a smaller creature trapped under the sand.
Of course, their target will be curious and interested in the commotion below. As it approaches the stargazer, the stargazer attacks, bites, and eats the prey quickly.
5. Exotic Delicacy
Would you eat this thing?
There are some places and cultures that consider and treat stargazer fish as a delicacy. Fish markets from all over the world are selling this particular fish to tourists and other people who are not afraid to taste this exotic fish.
Fish markets sell stargazer fish with the electric organ already removed. However, the venom once eaten is not poisonous anymore.
There is information on the internet that discourages eating stargazer fish. Precautionary measures should be taken should you decide to buy and eat stargazer fish.
6. “The Meanest Fish In creation”
Stargazer fish normally will not attack if undisturbed or unprovoked. Stargazer fishes are very dangerous and powerful as they can send electric shocks to their prey if they are in the offensive. To defend themselves, they use these electric jolts behind their eyes to scare away predators.
Their method of finding, killing, and eating their prey earned them the title, “the meanest things in creation” because of the torture that their prey experience when they inflict their special powers heartlessly.
It is no joke to catch and play with stargazers. Even night divers and professional fishermen can be attacked from down under.
However, if you are adventurous and brave enough to catch stargazers, you just need to practice extra caution as they are venomous and ultra-dangerous.
P.S. – If you think your angler friends would like to see this, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!