Common Stargazer, Kathetostoma laeve Click to enlarge image
A Common Stargazer on a silty substrate. Image: Ákos Lumnitzer
© Ákos Lumnitzer

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    laeve
    Genus
    Kathetostoma
    Family
    Uranoscopidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 75 cm in length.

The Common Stargazer can be recognised by its large, squarish head, tapering scaleless body and upward pointing mouth and eyes. It occurs in temperate marine waters in bays, estuaries and near shore areas, often on sandy substrates.



Identification

The Common Stargazer can be recognised by its large, squarish head, tapering scaleless body and upward pointing mouth and eyes. It has a large backward-directed spine just behind the operculum, and large pectoral fins.

The species is usually grey to brown dorsally and white below. The pectoral and caudal fins have white margins and the body often has two dark bands across the back.


IB.8300 - Kathetostoma laeve
Kathetostoma laeve skeleton in the gallery. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Habitat

The species lives mostly in bays, estuaries and near shore areas, often on sandy substrates. It can be found down to a depth of 60 m, but may also occur in very shallow water.

Distribution

The species occurs in temperate marine waters from southern Queensland to south-western Western Australia, including Tasmania. Fish occurring in south-western Western Australia may be a distinct species.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.



Economic impacts

Night divers have been bitten by this fish.

References

  1. Gomon, M.F. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.