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Banded Archerfish

Scientific Name: Toxotes jaculatrix

Conservation Status:

Least Concern IUCN Red List


Archerfish are best known for their ability to precisely aim and shoot jets of water from their mouths to knock prey off of overhanging plants. Adults can fire as many as seven jets of water up to six feet in length in rapid succession! Developing this unique hunting technique takes time and practice. With no parental care, young fish must quickly master this skill to survive. As they practice, youngsters learn to callibrate the volume and force of water needed to knock down prey of varying sizes, even compensating for the refraction of light to accurately hit their targets.

Archerfish tend to swim near the water surface as they patrol for prey. Once spotted, the fish will stick its nose out of the water and press its tongue onto a groove along the roof of its mouth. By quickly closing its gill covers, a stream of water is forced out. Archerfish are agile swimmers able to dart away from larger fish or raptors to avoid becoming prey themselves.


Mangrove swamps of Australia, Polynesia, India, and Palau.


Primarily carnivorous, they feed on a variety of insects, spiders, crustaceans, and small fishes.

Physical Characteristics

Length: Eight to 12 inches.

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