Monday, July 11, 2016

'Stargazer' Surprise!


This post caught my eye...I had a run-in with one of these creatures while surf fishing on the Outer Banks several years ago:

There's a creepy-looking fish lurking in the sand at Virginia Beach, which prompted a surfing group to send out a friendly warning to beachgoers, cautioning them to watch their step.

The East Coast Surfing Championships wrote on their Facebook page last week that one of the company's friends came across a northern stargazer fish while walking, according to the Associated Press.

Ashley Raper Starr of Virginia Beach said in an interview that she was taking a beach walk with her husband's family, who were visiting from Maryland when they came upon the strange sea creature.

"My niece, Cara Hotaling, saw the fish first buried under the sand," said Starr. "We were all curious as to what that could be making bubbles in the sand. We were making guesses as we waited for the water to run back over it and reveal the critter's face."

Starr said the unveiling of the creature's creepy face surprised and interested them all.

"I have never seen one on the beach and I grew up here in the VB area and have spent much time on the beach," said Starr.

Described as a strange-looking fish with a speckled, flattened body and a huge head, the stargazer does not pose any serious threat to humans; however, their electric spines make them a formidable predator.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Program's website, stargazers tend to live at the bottom of deep, open waters. With an appetite for small fish, crabs, and other crustaceans, they hunt by burying in the sand with their eyes and mouth sticking out just enough to search for and ambush their prey. Once its targeted morsel is within reach, it uses its large mouth to create a vacuum to suck in its prey. - Creepy-Looking Fish Has Beachgoers in Virginia Beach Minding Their Toes

Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life

Fishes of the Open Ocean: A Natural History and Illustrated Guide

The Fisherman's Ocean: How Marine Science Can Help You Find and Catch More Fish

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes: Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas, Bermuda



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