Archerfishes


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Archerfishes or rifflefishes are the common names used for the Toxotidae family. They are distributed from India to the Philippines, Australia and Polynesia. They are recognized by having moderately deep and compressed body, large eyes, dorsal fin located towards the posterior end of body, and moderately large and protractile mouth.

Archerfishes are found in shallow depth mangrove shores, brackish estuaries, and freshwaters. They are usually seen in small aggregations, but sometimes alone, close to the surface. They are omnivorous but mainly feed on insects by squirting water at them, knocking them out from branches or in the air. The water squirt is known to be accurate over a distance of at least 2 meters.

There is only one genus and about 7 species worldwide. Malaysian is represented by 3 species.


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Scientific Name: Toxotes chatareus  (Hamilton, 1822)
English Name: Spotted Archerfish, Seven-spot Archerfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 查达射水鱼(Chá dá shè shuǐ yú),
Local Malay Name: Ikan Sumpit-sumpit, Sumpit Tanda
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาเสือพ่นน้ำ (Plā s̄eụ̄x ph̀nn̂ả)
Main Identification Features: Snout angular with lower jaw protruding. Dorsal head flattened. Dorsal spines 5-6. A series of 6-7 alternating large and small black spots.
Size: Maximum total length about 50 cm, very rarely exceeding 35 cm, commonly to about 25 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Euryhaline, inhabiting primarily brackish mangrove habitats, but also found in freshwater and coastal waters. In groups or solitary. Prefers areas with over-hanging vegetation. Relies heavily on vision to detect prey. Feeds mainly on crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and insects. Insects are either shot down or taken as they float on the surface of water.






Scientific Name: Toxotes jaculatrix  (Pallas, 1767)
English Name: Banded Archerfish, Northern Riflefish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 射水鱼(Shèshuǐ yú),
Local Malay Name: Ikan Sumpit-sumpit, Sumpit Belang
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาเสือพ่นน้ำน้ำกร่อย (Plā s̄eụ̄x ph̀nn̂ả n̂ảkr̀xy)
Main Identification Features: Snout angular with lower jaw protruding. Dorsal head flattened. Single dorsal fin situated far back on body with 4 stout sharp spines. 4 or 5 dark black bars on upper side.
Size: Maximum total length about 30 cm, commonly to about 20 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Euryhaline, inhabiting primarily brackish mangrove habitats, but also found in freshwater and coastal waters. In groups or solitary. Prefers areas with over-hanging vegetation. Relies heavily on vision to detect prey. Feeds mainly on crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and insects. Insects are either shot down or taken as they float on the surface of water.





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