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, and all species have venomous spines. Another 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 Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, families Uranoscopidae and Dactyloscopidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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