Deepwater Stargazer, Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum Waite & McCulloch 1915

Other Names: Blackbanded Stargazer

Deepwater Stargazer, Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum. Source: Chris Dowling. License: All rights reserved

A creamy-tan stargazer with two prominent broad dark brown bands across the back, one above pectoral fins and the another below the rear of the dorsal fin, brown lines radiating from the eyes, pale cheeks, a dark brown band on the upper part of the gill cover, a large dark brown spot on top of head, and brownish caudal and pelvic fins with white margins.
Although easily recognised by the distinctive spot on the head and prominent rear outline to the bony covering of the head, this species is rarely seen by anglers due to its deepwater habitat.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Aug 2022,

Deepwater Stargazer, Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum Waite & McCulloch 1915

More Info


Endemic to southwestern Australia from the eastern end of the Great Australian Bight to about Green Head, Western Australia, in depths of 130-320 m.


Dorsal fin 13-15; Anal fin 14; Caudal fin 12; Pectoral fin 17-18; Pelvic fin I, 5.
Body slightly shallow (22-28% SL), of moderate length; head and trunk slightly depressed. Head moderately large (30-31% SL), almost completely encased in bone; non bony space between orbits moderately narrow (10-18% HL), space usually expanded and rounded posteriorly; posterior edge of bone on upper surface of head with a prominent pointed bulge on either side of mid-line; 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 between bases of ventral fins; eyes small (16-21% HL) directed upward;  mouth large, vertical, lips with narrow fleshy fringe; row of small canines in lower jaw interspersed with several widely separated pairs of large canines; upper jaw with broad band of fine teeth; 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. 
A single dorsal fin of moderate length 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.


Body creamy tan with two prominent broad dark brown bands across back, one above pectoral fins and another below posterior part of dorsal fin; brown lines radiating from eyes; cheeks pale; dark brown band on upper part of opercle; large dark brown spot centrally on top of head; caudal and pelvic fins brownish with white margins.

Species Citation

Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum Waite & McCulloch, 1915, Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Austr. 39: 469, pl. 13, figs. 1- 2. type locality: Doubtful Island Bay, Western Australia, depth 20-140 fathoms.


Dianne J. Bray

Deepwater Stargazer, Kathetostoma nigrofasciatum Waite & McCulloch 1915


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

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 pp.

Smith, P.J., McPhee, R.P. & Roberts, C.D. 2006. DNA and meristic evidence for two species of giant stargazer (Teleostei: Uranoscopidae: Kathetostoma) in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40: 379–387.

Waite, E.R. & McCulloch, A.R. 1915. The fishes of the South Australian Government trawling cruise, 1914. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 39: 455-476 fig. 1 pls 12-15

Pietsch, T.W. 1989. Phylogenetic relationships of trachinoid fishes of the family Uranoscopidae. Copeia 1989(2): 253-303.

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:37400004

Depth:130–320 m

Depth:28 cm TL

Habitat:Bottom dweller


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