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The Stargazer Fish Is Seriously Weird

This unassuming-looking stargazer fish comes armed (shock) with a surprising array of tricks to catch. Check northern stargazer fish, facts and images.


Given its romantic name, you might expect the stargazer fish to be a delicate and beautiful creature. But in reality, it looks like someone stuck the front and back ends from two very different fish together to create one very confused-looking animal.

Flickr/Klaus Stiefel

The stargazer has the standard back end of a fish, complete with fins and a tail. But then its front half takes a 90 degree turn with an enormous upward-facing mouth and eyes (hence the name, since it gazes up). That alone would be pretty bizarre but it gets better: stargazers can shock, poison and vacuum their way through life.

Their large mouths make them incredibly efficient hunters. Just watch this video -- the stargazer catches a fish, swallows it whole and then, no joke, burps out the scales.

The animal uses its large side fins like shovels to bury itself in the sand -- excellent camouflage for hiding from predators and prey alike. Then it simply waits until something tasty comes by, which, judging by the videos out there, could be anything. Crabs, fish, squid, it doesn't appear to be choosy.

It strikes with lightning speed, using its gigantic mouth to create a vacuum that sucks in its prey.

Any predators thinking that the stargazer looks like an easy meal be warned -- this fish uses a special organ right behind its eyes to zap the unwary with 50 volts of electricity. Stargazers can also stick predators with a set of poisonous spines at the base of their pectoral (or side) fins.

So the next time you head to the ocean, remember to step lightly!

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