PORT PHILLIP BAY


Common Stargazer 

Kathetostoma laeve (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: 16-17
Anal fin spines/rays: 14-15
Caudal fin rays: 11-13
Pectoral fin rays: 18-20
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Robust bottom dwelling fishes with large bony heads, large mouths opening vertically, upward directed eyes in most and a prominent spine just above the pectoral-fin base; tail rounded; pelvic fins small, on underside of head. Found worldwide in both shallow and deep waters.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Uranoscopidae
Genus:
Kathetostoma
Species:
laeve

General Description

Body robust, tapering towards the tail; head huge, squarish, bony; mouth large, upturned, giving an almost "bulldog"-like appearance; eyes on top of the head as the common name suggests; pectoral fins large, with a stout spine on top of fin base. Body dull greyish to brownish on top, paler below, with two dark bands or saddles across the back and a large dark smudge below the eye; markings becoming indistinct with age. To 75 cm.

Biology

Stargazers are ambush predators and frequently bury themselves leaving only their eyes and top of the head exposed. They may be aggressive to divers, and the large spine projecting backwards above the gill opening is reportedly venomous.

Habitat

Sandy bottoms in sheltered bays and in moderately exposed coastal areas, in depths of 0-150 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Stargazers

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

75 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

May be aggressive and has a large venomous spine above gill opening.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Common Stargazer, Kathetostoma laeve, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Apr 2014, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au/species/7995

Text: creative commons cc by licence