Southern stargazer

Astroscopus y-graecum

Family Uranoscopidae - stargazers

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate, head broad, tapering to tail; mouth nearly vertical; eyes on top of head; color blue-gray to brown with white spots on back and upper sides (in adults); distinct black and white markings on dorsal, anal and caudal fins (not apparent in juveniles); dark horizontal stripes on tail; has 2 dorsal fins, 1st is small and spinous (3-5 spines).
Similar Species
Body patterning on back, sides and fins distinguish this stargazer; it is also the only stargazer with a spinous 1st dorsal fin; other stargazers with only 1 dorsal fin with no spines or the sand stargazer in the family Dactyloscopidae has 1 dorsal fin with 7-8 spines (3-5 in southern stargazer).
Habitat
Gulf and bay
Maximum Size
44 cm (17 1/2 in), common to 35 cm (14 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. III-V (usually IV)+I,12-13; A. 12 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
Can produce an electric shock from an organ located between the eyes. Handle with care.
State size/bag limits