The ocean and its many wonders are a source of great joy and passion for the human race. It is important to remember, however, that it is home to many creatures we might not opt to meet and should, by all accounts, avoid. The Northern Stargazer fish has a visage that can cause many a heart to pound and perhaps even a weak one to fail.

The frightening fish was spotted in the sand at Virginia Beach

A Facebook surfing group known as the East Coast Surfing Championships has warned beach-goers to watch where they are walking along the shores of Virginia Beach.

One beach-lover encountered a Northern Stargazer fish while walking on the sand near the shore. The large head is ghastly to behold, the body speckled and flattened and adults reach about 22 inches long.

It is an uncommon occurrence because these fish tend to live at the bottom of the deep, open waters between North Carolina and New York and at depths of up to 120 feet. There they hunt in the dark crevices where they are camouflaged with their eyes and gigantic mouths sticking out of the sand until its too late for their prey, which are usually small fish and crustaceans, to see them coming.

These fish are scary but not dangerous to humans

While these fish pose no actual threat to human life, they can cause some pain if confronted. The Northern Stargazer is a serious predator because when it senses the approach of food, its electric spine uses a jolt of electricity to stun its prey and quickly devour it. As far as humans are concerned, they may not be considered prey but they are looked upon as another predator from whom it must defend itself.

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The electric stun that works so well with food also serves as a natural defense. If you run across a Northern Stargazer, just keep walking and maybe turn around just once. if you don't see it, walk a little faster. The innocuous and almost romantic name given to this very strange and ugly fish with the large mouth and eyes on top of its body is one more testament to the dynamic and bizarre cosmos of the many marine animals, both known and unknown, that live in the oceans of the world.

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