Banded archerfish

(Toxotes jaculatrix)


Banded archerfish IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The archerfish is a unique species with several amazing anatomical, physiological, and behavioural features. For instance, it uses its binocular vision to look for prey on or above the surface of the water. It is capable of leaping 30 cm out of the water and catch prey in its mouth. It can also launch a jet of water out of its mouth, to knock down insects flying or walking on plants up to 1.5 m above water level. To this end, it uses the tongue and top of the mouth to form a longitudinal grove, similar to that of a rifle barrel. Once this groove is made the archer can rapidly launch several squirts of water with compression of its gills to knock down prey.

Did you know?
that the archerfish captures its prey by aiming into the air, spitting water at animals, and knocking them out of the air or off plants, down into the water, where it can eat them? This fish has also been known to jump out of the water to catch flying insects in its mouth.


Name (Scientific) Toxotes jaculatrix
Name (English) Banded archerfish
Name (French) Poisson-archer
Name (German) Schützenfisch
Name (Spanish) Pez arquero
Local names Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan sumpit
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka



Range From the Gulf of Aden along the coasts of India and South-East Asia to Northern Australia.
Habitat The species occurs in freshwater, brackish water and saltwater, e.g. mangrove swamps.
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population 178 reported to ISIS (2007). Considering that most public aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Banded archerfish


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos and aquariums keep archerfish primarily for educational reasons because of their unique hunting behaviour (spitting water into the air). They are also an excelelnt ambassador species for mangrove conservation.