Creature Feature: Southern Stargazer
Adapted to life under the sand, the Southern Stargazer has specialized eyes, nostrils, and an upturned mouth that stick out of the sand while the rest of the fish’s body hides underground. The stargazer can be 7 to 14 inches in length and is typically found in the benthos (ocean floor).
What do they eat?
Stargazers feed on smaller fish. Relying on its camouflage, the stargazer waits for small fish to swim within in range and then rises out of the sand, swallowing the fish whole!
Although they spend most of their life inshore, the stargazer can be found anywhere from 6 to 120 feet. They prefer sand, silt, or rock-rubble bottoms which allow them to quickly bury into the ground. With pectoral fins that act as shovels the stargazer can easily disappear into the sand.
The most unique characteristic of the southern stargazer is its ability to deliver an electric shock for protection. The electrical current is produced from a specialized organ located behind the fish’s eyes. Depending on water temperature, the stargazer can deliver an electrical charge of up to 50 volts! So definitely keep your hands to yourself around these guys!