Animal Species:Banded Archerfish, Toxotes jaculatrix (Pallas, 1767)
The Banded Archerfish is known for its ability to shoot down resting insects by spitting a jet of water. Large archerfishes can hit a target 2-3 m away.
Standard Common Name
The Banded Archerfish is usually white or silvery on the body with 4 to 5 black bars on the upper half of the body.
Reaches a maximum size of about 30 cm.
The species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific and in Australia it is recorded from north-western Western Australia to northern Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species mostly lives in mangrove and estuarine habitats throughout much of the Indo-Pacific. It is only rarely encountered in freshwater.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Archerfishes have adaptations to the mouth which enable spitting. When a Banded Archerfish shoots a jet of water, it raises its tongue against the roof of the mouth forming a tube. The gill covers quickly close forcing water along the tube.
- Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to The Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Christensen Research Institute. Pub. 9. Pp 268.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow