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Scientific classification
Toxotes blythii
Toxotes chatareus
Toxotes jaculatrix
Toxotes lorentzi
Toxotes microlepis
Toxotes oligolepis

The archerfishes (also seen as archer fish) are a family (Toxotidae) of fish notable for their habit of preying on insects and other animals by shooting them down with squirts of water from the mouth. The family is a small one, consisting of six species in the genus Toxotes; all occur in fresh and marine waters from India to Philippines, Australia, and Polynesia.

Archerfish bodies are deep and compressed, with the dorsal fin set far back, and the profile a straight line from dorsal fin to mouth. The mouth is protractile, and the lower jaw juts out. Sizes are generally small, but T. chatareus can reach 40 cm.

Archerfish are remarkably accurate in their shooting, adult fish almost always hitting the target on the first shot. Their large eyes give them excellent eyesight, and they cruise just below the surface looking for victims. When one is spotted, the archerfish sticks its snout just above the surface and squirts water with a contraction of the gill covers. The jet can go up to 150 cm (5 ft). If the first shot does not knock the victim into the water, the archerfish will keep trying. Young archerfish start shooting when about 2.5 cm long, but are inaccurate at first and must learn from experience.

Archerfish are popular for aquaria.


Both T. chatareus and T. jaculatrix may be called just "archerfish" in some areas.

Several submarines of the United States Navy have been named USS Archerfish.

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