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Poisonous animals
Cnidarians (Jellyfish, Corals and Anemones)
Venomous fish
Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Ants)
Sea snakes
Terrestrial snakes
Miscellaneous animals



Uranoscopidae, Stargazers

Clinical entries

For clinical data see section “Risk” below


Osteichthyes; Perciformes

Common names

Stargazers, Himmelsgucker


From tropical to cooler seas.

Uranoscopus scaber in the Black Sea and Mediterranean and on the European Atlantic coast.


Fig. 4.31 Uranoscopus sp.


Groundfish found in zones close to shore. Often buried in the sand or mud with only the top of their head showing. Closely related to Weeverfishes (Trachinus spp.) and relatively similar to them, but squatter and bulkier. Huge, pug-like head, extremely upward-facing mouth and eyes. Body slender and spindle-shaped. First dorsal fin very small or barely present. In the genus Uranoscopus there is a strong spine above the pectoral fins, adjoining the large gill covers. In U. scaber this spine is surrounded by a "gelatinous substance" that is believed to contain venom (Halstead 1988). However, there is debate about whether this substance really does contain venom, and, if so, it is unclear if this is also present in other Uranoscopus species. It is possible that the venom glands are only formed during the spawning season. Electrical organs behind the eyes can produce electric shocks that can be strongly felt.


No verified cases of envenoming known.

Literature (biological)

De Couet et al. 1981, Halstead 1988, Maretic 1988, Mebs 1992, Riedl 1983