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Southern Company River Scout

Archerfish

Archerfish

(Toxotes jaculatrix)

The banded archerfish is found in estuaries and brackish water areas from India eastward to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea and south to northern Australia. It occurs most frequently in coastal mangrove areas and may move up into small rivers and streams. This species commonly reaches a length of about 8 inches (20 cm). This fish is famous for its remarkable ability to “shoot down” insect prey with a stream of water beads that it expels from its mouth. The stream knocks the insect into the water from overhanging branches and it is quickly devoured. You can see this amazing fish in its own exhibit in the River Scout gallery.

Fun Facts

  • To shoot, the archerfish forces water between its tongue and a groove in the roof of its mouth.
  • It can shoot down prey up to 5 feet away and it aim is very accurate.
  • Its eyes are specially adapted to account for the bending of light as it passes through the surface of the water.
  • The archerfish consumes plant material as well as insects.
  • It is a popular home aquarium fish.
  • Download full fact sheet

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