Speckled Stargazer, Kathetostoma canaster Gomon & Last 1987

Speckled Stargazer, Kathetostoma canaster. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A speckled greyish-brown stargazer becoming whitish below, with speckles forming two faint broad bands across the back above the pectoral fin and below the dorsal fin, dark greyish brown; speckles onthe cheeks and upper part of the gill covers, and greyish-brown caudal and pectoral fins with white margins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Kathetostoma canaster in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Sep 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2977

Speckled Stargazer, Kathetostoma canaster Gomon & Last 1987

More Info


Occurs in moderately deep waters all along the southern coast of Australia from about Sydney, New South Wales, to at least the Great Australian Bight, south of Eucla, Western Australia. Recorded from a broad range of depths from 30 to over 700 m.


Dorsal fin 16-18; Anal fin 15-16; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 18-20; Pelvic fin I, 5
Body slightly shallow (19-24% SL), of moderate length; head and trunk slightly depressed. Head moderately large (27-30% SL), almost completely encased in bone; non bony space between orbits moderately broad (27-34%  HL), lateral edges of space usually parallel, posterior edge straight to slightly rounded; posterior edge of bone on upper surface of head usually slightly concave, sometimes with slight bulge somewhat laterally on each side; anterior portion of body with moderately large humeral spine, five spines enveloped in tissue along lower edge of operculum and base of jaw and pair of spines projecting forward from between bases of ventral fins; eyes moderately small (17-25% HL), directed upward; mouth large, vertical; lips with narrow fleshy fringe; row of moderately small canines in lower jaw, pair adjacent symphysis usually considerably larger than rest, upper jaw with broad band of fine teeth and row of larger depressible canines on inner edge; chin smoothly curved or wrinkled without bony flaps or barbels; humeral spine usually covered by skin, without fleshy fringing below; opercle without fleshy fringing on free edge. Scales absent. 
Single long based dorsal fin without spines; anal fin with elongate base, rays increasing in length posteriorly; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins large. Pelvic fins fleshy, jugular arising below and slightly behind eyes.


A moderately large fish with firm, good quality flesh; marketed in small quantities.


In the past, this species has been confused with the New Zealand monkfish, Kathetostoma giganteum.


The specific name is from the Latin canaster (grizzled), in reference to the distinctive colour pattern of this species.

Species Citation

Kathetostoma canaster Gomon & Last 1987, Mem. Mus. Vic. 48(1): 31, fig. 1, Type locality: Victoria, Bass Strait, southeast of Cape Conran.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Speckled Stargazer, Kathetostoma canaster Gomon & Last 1987


Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Uranoscopidae. pp. 718-725, figs 630-635 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Uranoscopidae. pp. 678-683 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Gomon, M.F. & Last, P.R. 1987. New Australian fishes. Part 9. A new species of Kathetostoma (Uranoscopidae). Memoirs of Museum Victoria 48(1): 31-33 fig. 1 DOI https://doi.org/10.24199/j.mmv.1987.48.09 PDF available, open access

Gomon, M.F. & Roberts, C.D. 2011. A second New Zealand species of the stargazer genus Kathetostoma (Trachinoidei: Uranoscopidae). Zootaxa 2776: 1-12. 

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. 

Vilasri, V. 2013. Comparative anatomy and phylogenetic systematics of the family Uranoscopidae (Actinopterygii: Perciformes). Memoirs of the Faculty of Fisheries, Hokkaido University 55(1/2): 1-106.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37400018

Danger:Venomous spines above gills

Depth:30-700 m

Habitat:Soft sediments

Max Size:65+ cm TL


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