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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Uranoscopus scaber Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: body massive in front, somewhat compressed posteriorly, its depth 20-22% of total length. Head large and flat dorsally, about 33% of standard length. Eyes on top of head, small, their diameter about 13-17% of head length; inter-orbital space narrow, 18-20% head length; post-orbital length 4-4.75 times greater than snout length. Mouth vertical, the lower lip fringed with small appendages; tentacle of lower jaw inside mouth, long and narrow (as long as or longer than eye diameter). Strong cleithral spine about 25% of head length. First dorsal with 3-4 spines, second dorsal with 13-15 soft rays; anal fin with 1 spine and 12-14 soft rays. Lateral line scales 76-90. Colour: back and sides greyish-brown, speckled with spots, belly yellowish-white. First dorsal fin black. Mouth tentacle greyish. Size: to 35 cm SL, usually 20-25 cm.

Habitat: benthic species, on sandy or muddy bottoms, burrowing in the sediment, only the eyes being above the level of the bottom. On the continental shelf and upper slope between 15 and 400 m depth. Food: mainly fishes. Reproduction: between April and August; spawns small pelagic eggs of about 2 mm diameter. Post-larval and juvenile stages are pelagic.

Distribution: Atlantic coasts of Europe and Africa from Bay of Biscay where rare, Portugal to Morocco. Very common in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Elsewhere, rare along the coast of Senegal.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Padoa, 1956: 714-720, fig. 619-623, pl. XLII (fig. 6-16) | Banarescu, 1964, fig. 338 | Varagnolo, 1964: 263, pl. 2 (fig. 11) | Bini, 1968, 5: 164, 3 fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). Frost, 1928: 454, pl. XVII (fig. 14) | Chaine, 1957: 479, pl. II | Bauzá-Rullán, 1962: 10, pl. III (fig. 28-31).

Stargazar (Uranoscopus scaber)