Genus Toxotes


Summary:

Archerfishes are renowned for their amazing ability to spit jets of water at terrestrial insects and other animals to knock them into the water. They shoot powerful jets of water through a 'blow tube' or 'water pistol' formed when they press their odd-shaped tongue up against a groove in the roof of the mouth. They can accurately hit prey at distances of more than ten times their body length. The genus Toxotes is found in the tropical Indo-West Pacific and contains seven species, four of which occur in Australia.

BBC Video of Toxotes chatareus shooting a beetle down from a branch.

Key to Australian species of Toxotes (modified from Allen 2004)  

1a.  Dorsal spines 4: series of 4–5 black bars on upper sides (widespread, India to Vanuatu) ............................................................................................................................................................................................ T. jaculatrix  

1b.  Dorsal spines normally 5; colour variable with either bars, spots, or irregular stripes on sides, or colour uniform without dark markings .................................................................................................................................................... 2  

2a.  Lateral-line scales usually 25–38; body with black bars, saddles or large spots....................................................3

2b.  Lateral-line scales usually 39–50; generally uniform in colour with or without about 10 faint, narrow bars on upper side (northern Australia and New Guinea) ................................................................................................... T. lorentzi  

3a.  Colour pattern consisting of a series of 6–7 alternating, large and small black spots (widespread, India to Papua New Guinea and northern Australia) ........................................................................................................ T. chatareus  

3b.  Colour pattern consisting of a series of 4–5 wedge-shaped, black bars or saddles without intervening small spots (Kimberley region of Western Australia) ........................................................................................... T. kimberleyensis

Author: Dianne J. Bray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Toxotes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Sep 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/genus/1522

References


Allen, G.R. 1978. A review of the archerfishes (family Toxotidae). Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6(4): 355–378 figs 1–11

Allen, G.R. 2004. Toxotes kimberleyensis, a new species of archerfish (Pisces: Toxotidae) from fresh waters of Western Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 56(2): 225-230.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Allen, G.R. 2001. Toxotidae—archerfishes (pp. 3212–3215). In: Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 5. Bony Fishes, part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). Rome: FAO.

Cuvier, G.1816. Le Règne Animal distribué d'après son organisation pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Les reptiles, les poissons, les mollusques et les annélides. Edition 1. v. 2: i-xviii + 1-532, [Pls. 9-10, in v. 4].

Vailati A, Zinnato L, Cerbino R (2012) How Archer Fish Achieve a Powerful Impact: Hydrodynamic Instability of a Pulsed Jet in Toxotes jaculatrix. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47867. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047867