Banded Archerfish, Toxotes jaculatrix Click to enlarge image
Banded Archerfish at Sydney Aquarium. Image: Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    jaculatrix
    Genus
    Toxotes
    Family
    Toxotidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Reaches a maximum size of about 30 cm.

Introduction

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.

Identification

The Banded Archerfish is usually white or silvery on the body with 4 to 5 black bars on the upper half of the body.

Habitat

The species mostly lives in mangrove and estuarine habitats throughout much of the Indo-Pacific. It is only rarely encountered in freshwater.

Distribution

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.



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.

Further reading

  1. Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to The Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Christensen Research Institute. Pub. 9. Pp 268.