The stargazers are a family of perciform fish that have eyes on top of their heads (hence the name). The family includes about 51 species (one extinct) and are found worldwide in shallow and deep salt waters.
In addition to the top-mounted eyes, a stargazer also has a large, upward-facing mouth in a large head. Their usual habit is to bury themselves in sand, and leap upwards to ambush prey that pass overhead. Some species have a worm-shaped lure growing out of the floors of their mouths, which they can wiggle to attract prey’s attention. Both the dorsal and anal fins are relatively long; some lack dorsal spines. Lengths range from 18 up to 90 cm (giant stargazer).
Stargazers are venomous; they have two large venomous spines situated behind their opercles and above their pectoral fins. Some species can also cause electric shocks and have a single electric organ consisting of modified eye muscles, while other species have theirs derived from sonic muscles. They are some of the few marine bioelectrogenic bony fishes, the other being the striped catfish.
Stargazers are a delicacy in some cultures (the venom is not poisonous when eaten), and they can be found for sale in some fish markets with the electric organ removed. Because stargazers are ambush predators which camouflage themselves and some can deliver both venom and electric shocks, they have been called “the meanest things in creation”…
Now, originally I didn’t want to write about stargazer fish. I wanted to touch base on star gazer babies. I’m not even sure if it is a thing in English but when my son was born or better during birth of my son, he sort of got stuck on my pelvic bone while on his way out. He was what they called a star gazer baby and lifted his head up in a way that is not part of the normal movement a baby goes through during birth. This then led to his head getting stuck and in the process we needed a little bit of help to get him out. I loved the description they gave it as it made things so clear but also gave it kind of a nice touch.
“A Posterior baby (Occiput Posterior, or OP) means that the baby is also head down BUT the back of its head is towards mom’s back and baby is facing towards mom’s front. Other names for the OP position include “stargazer” or “sunny side up” because the baby seems to be looking “up” at the sky when mom is lying down.”
So while I was trying to find the right way of describing it on Google I also found the stargazer fish and it’s pictures made me share it as a Did You Know post…