Astroscopus guttatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Uranoscopidae

Scientific Name: Astroscopus guttatus Abbott, 1860
Common Name(s):
English Northern Stargazer
Spanish Rata
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. and Fricke, R. (eds). 2015. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 1 October 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 1 October 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-11-18
Assessor(s): Carpenter, K.E.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A., Santa Cruz, A. & Polidoro, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Linardich, C.
This species is widely distributed and somewhat common where it occurs in coastal waters over shallow soft bottom. There are no known major threats, therefore it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed in the western Atlantic Ocean from New York south along the U.S. to southeastern Florida. It does not occur in the Gulf of Mexico (R. Robertson pers. comm. 2014).
Countries occurrence:
Bahamas; United States
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):37
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are 90 nominal records in Fishnet2, with up to 19 individuals in a single lot. In a survey conducted in seagrass beds in the Chesapeake Bay its abundance increased between the 1977-2011 (Sobocinski et al. 2013). It was captured in 17 out of 600 trawls between 2002-2011 in the Chesapeake Bay (Buchheister et al. 2013). In a surf zone beach seine survey conducted off New Jersey it was somewhat commonly captured (Able et al. 2011).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This demersal species occurs over soft bottoms from nearshore to 37 m depth. It conceals itself in the sediment with only the top of its head exposed and uses an electric organ to stun prey. Its maximum total length is 59 cm (Robins and Ray 1986).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species occurs rarely as bycatch in bottom trawls (Buchheister et al. 2013). It is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for this fish.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.4. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.5. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.6. Marine Neritic - Subtidal Muddy
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:No
  Occur in at least one PA:Unknown
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Able, K. W., Grothues, T. M., Rowe, P. M., Wuenschel, M. J., & Vasslides, J. M. 2011. Near-surface larval and juvenile fish in coastal habitats: Comparisons between the inner shelf and an estuary in the New York Bight during summer and fall. Estuaries and coasts 34(4): 726-738.

Buchheister, A., Bonzek, C. F., Gartland, J., & Latour, R. J. 2013. Patterns and drivers of the demersal fish community of Chesapeake Bay. Marine Ecology Progress Series 481: 161-180.

Carpenter, K.E. 2002. Uranoscopidae: Stargazers. In: Carpenter, K.E. (ed.), The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Atlantic, pp. 1746-1747. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Robins, C.R. and Ray, G.C. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A.

Sobocinski, K. L., Orth, R. J., Fabrizio, M. C., & Latour, R. J. 2013. Historical comparison of fish community structure in lower Chesapeake Bay seagrass habitats. Estuaries and coasts 36(4): 775-794.

Citation: Carpenter, K.E. 2015. Astroscopus guttatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T47153800A47461926. . Downloaded on 25 May 2018.
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