Anyone who’s spent any time flipping through a National Geographic knows that the ocean is home to many wonderfully weird creatures. There’s the goblin shark, which thrusts its entire jaw forward to eat; the bobbit worm, which has truly terrifying jaws capable of slicing a fish in half; and blobfish, which look totally normal in their natural deep sea environment but resemble a pile of snot on the surface.
And then there’s the stargazer fish.
There are 53 species in the family Uranoscopidae, and they can be found all over the world in waters both deep and shallow. All of these bony fish are venomous; some have electric organs they use to shock their prey, and some have lures they use to tempt prey to come closer. These ambush predators use their pectoral fins to bury themselves in the sand and lunge out to devour fish, crabs, and anything else unlucky enough to wander by.
When stargazers are buried, their eyes, nostrils, and upward-facing mouths sit just on the surface—and they look totally horrifying.
Even when they're not buried, they don't look very friendly.
In fact, they look kind of like the horror movie monster the Babadook. Don’t believe us? Here’s a side-by-side.
[h/t Strange Animals on Twitter]