Northern Stargazer
The Northern Stargazer or Astroscopus guttatus. Canvasman21, Wikimedia Commons

The creepy-looking fish found in the sands of Virginia Beach that prompted a surfing group to warn beachgoers is not a real threat to humans, said an East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) Facebook post. However, visitors are still advised to be cautious and be on the lookout of the strange-looking fish that was spotted near the shoreline.

“Check this out. A friend of ECSC came across this Stargazer while walking in Virginia Beach (note: these animals tend to live in the deep waters of the ‪ #‎chesapeakebay ) but this one was found ocean side. Stargazers bury themselves in the sand in order to ambush prey. Their secondary gland creates an electric which makes them a serious predator. They do not pose any real threat to humans, but they sure look menacing. Too cool. Watch your step,” The Facebook photo caption read.

Last week, organisers of the ECSC shared photos of the Northern Stargazer popping its head up from the sand. As per the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Northern Stargazer lives at the bottom of deep open waters and is mostly found in the lower Chesapeake Bay. However, at times it travels to the upper Bay in autumn.

“My niece, Cara Hotaling, saw the fish first buried under the sand. We were all curious as to what that could be making bubbles in the sand. We were making guesses as we waited for the water to run back over it and reveal the critter's face,” Ashley Raper Starr, who photographed the deadly-looking creature, told

The Northern Stargazer hunts preys in a very interesting way. It buries itself in the sand but keeps its eyes and mouth above the surface to search for preys. Whenever small fish, crabs and other crustaceans swims by, it sucks the prey in by using its large mouth to create a vacuum.