The stargazer, Uranoscopus, is a frogfish-mimic

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I am aware and working on a comprehensive comment for the Nature paper that just came out today positing a lagerpetid origin for pterosaurs using a chimaera of specimen bits and pieces while omitting competing complete and articulated candidates with soft tissue (= Cosesaurus and kin). So here is today’s entry as planned. Expect the report on the lagerpetid mish-mash authored by 18 misguided PhDs as soon as it gets done, surely in less than a day.

The marbled stargazer,
Uranoscopus bicinctus (Linneaus 1758), looks and acts like a frogfish/anglerfish. The giant jaws of these half buried ambush predators open dorsally. A small ‘lure’ wiggles over the jaws. Large pectoral fins spread laterally. Smaller ‘chin fins’ are present.

Figure 1. The marbled stargazer, Uranoscopus bicinctus, is an angler-frogfish-mimic, but nests in the LRT with other thread fins.

Figure 1. The marbled stargazer, Uranoscopus bicinctus, is an angler-frogfish-mimic, but nests in the LRT with other thread fins.

The chin fins are thread fins,
homologs to sea robin (Prionotus) fingers and the thread fins of Polydactylus. The pelvic fins of the stargazer are stumpy vestiges. Robust circumorbital bones are present. One is a a palatine/lacrimal. Frogfish and anglers don’t have circumorbital bones.

Figure 2. Skull of Uranoscopus with colors added. Purple elements are chin fins.

Figure 2. Skull of Uranoscopus with colors added. Purple elements are threadfins.

The two cleithrum spines
per side are venomous. Uranoscopus can also produce an electric shock, but does not have electroreceptors.


References
Linnaeus C von 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.

wiki/Uranoscopus

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