Video: Spitting Archerfish Hunt Their Prey from Beneath the Water

   10.04.18

Spitting archerfish are one of the most intriguing species of fish in the world. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for a fish with sharpshooting capabilities, but wait until you see how this fish adapted to hunt its prey!

Archerfish!? More like sniperfish!

Archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix) are native to southeast Asia, where they swim along in brackish water occasionally searching for something to eat. But unlike other fish, archerfish are not constrained by the surface that separates their world from ours – at least when they see something they want to eat.

See, these fish have a very unique skill which allows them to spit a stream of water with impeccable accuracy to knock prey like spiders, insects and even small lizards into the water for them to gobble up. According to a study in Current Biology, that super accurate spit-wad is the result of some amazing bodily control. Researchers found the fish are able to adjust the jet stream simply by changing the way they moved their mouths: starting with an open mouth, a spitting archerfish creates less acceleration. This slower stream is designed to hit a distant target with a little more ‘bang.’ In doing the opposite, closing its mouth quickly creates a highly accelerated stream that’s ready to hit a closer target with optimum force.

And yes, in their research scientists even observed the fish adjust their trajectory to hit targets at varying heights. How cool is that!?

To learn more about these awesome fish, watch the video below:

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