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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Archerfish Habitat (River Scout)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs from India eastward to the Philippines and south to Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia.
  • Found primarily in brackish mangrove estuaries, but also penetrates adjacent rivers and small streams.
  • Also reported to occur near overhanging vegetation on reefs.

Physical Characteristics

  • Small, deep-bodied fish with an upturned mouth. The lower jaw extends beyond the upper.
  • Coloration is silver-grey dorsally fading to silver on the underside. There are several dark splotches along the upper sides.
  • Common length of about 8 inches (20 cm), but occasionally individuals as long as 12 inches (30 cm) have been reported.

Diet / Feeding

  • Feeds at the surface during the daytime on floating debris which includes insects and plant material.
  • Renowned for its ability to “shoot down” insect prey by expelling beads of water from its mouth with considerable force.
  • Shooting range is about 60 inches (150 cm).
  • Uses its jaw muscles to pump water through a tube formed by its tongue and a unique channel in the roof of its mouth. The stream of water droplets knocks its prey into the water where it is easily devoured.
  • Can compensate for visual refraction while looking from beneath the water surface to a target in the air above.
  • Very accurate aim due to special adaptations in the eye which give it an unusually large area on the retina in which it can focus an image and still have the image be clear.

Conservation Status

  • "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Popular among home aquarists.
  • In some parts of its range, it is harvested and sold fresh in the marketplace.

Sources

www.fishbase.us
animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/
www.eol.org/pages/339020
Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and Southeast Asia
, Allen G.