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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Stargazer Kathetostoma laeve

Looking like a cross between a bulldog and a seal, the common stargazer normally lies buried in shelly sand.

The common stargazer has its eyes set right on top of its large, square head and its mouth slants obliquely upward. This allows it to breathe and to see while remaining almost completely buried and is probably the reason behind its unusual name. Its large, white-edged pectoral fins help it to lunge out of the sand and engulf passing fish and crustaceans. Common stargazers have also occasionally bitten divers who have inadvertently disturbed them while on night dives, when they are particularly difficult to spot. Anglers face a greater threat if they catch a common stargazer. Careless handling can result in a painful sting from a tough, venomous spine that lies behind each gill cover.

Common Stargazerzoom image
  • Order Perciformes
  • Length Up to 30 in (75 cm)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 200 ft (0–60 m), possibly 550 ft (150 m)
  • Distribution Temperate waters of Indian Ocean around southern Australia
Common Stargazer Habitat Mapzoom image