Primitive Archerfish, Toxotes lorentzi Weber 1910

Other Names: Lorentz's Archerfish, Primitive Archer Fish

Primitive Archerfish, Toxotes lorentzi. Source: Gunther Schmida. License: All rights reserved

A dusky brown or bronze to silvery-grey archerfish fading to silver below, often with 10 faint, narrow bars on the upper sides extending to just below the midline, dusky dorsal, anal, and caudal fins, yellowish pelvic and pectoral fins, and a dark pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Toxotes lorentzi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Primitive Archerfish, Toxotes lorentzi Weber 1910

More Info


Found in the Northern Territory - in the West Alligator, South Alligator, Daly, Reynolds, Finniss, and Adelaide River systems of the Timor Sea drainage. Also known from Papua New Guinea and southern Irian Jaya, Indonesia. Inhabits small freshwater streams and swamps usually with abundant overhanging vegetation.


Dorsal fin V, 13-14; Anal fin III, 15-17; Pectoral fin 14-15; Gill rakers (lower limb) 2-4; Transverse scale rows 7/1/12-13; Lateral line scales 39-47.

Body oval to rhomboid, moderately compressed, depth 2.1-2.5 in standard length. Head pointed, length 2.7-3.2 in standard length. Snout 3.7-4.1 in head length. Eye large 3.8-4.4 in head length. Interorbital 3.0 to 3.8 in head length.  Mouth moderately large, protractile, with lower jaw protruding; angle of jaw oblique, about 35°-40° to horizontal; maxilla slender, scaly and without a supplemental bone; villiform teeth on jaws, vomer, and palatines; a deep longitudinal groove on roof of mouth, which is converted to a tube when tongue is pressed against it. Caudal peduncle depth 2.3-2.5 in head length.

Scales are moderately large, ctenoid, extending onto head and median fins; scale rows on body running horizontally; cheeks and operculum scaly; lateral line continuous, curving above pectoral fin.

Dorsal fin continuous, positioned on posterior half of body, opposite anal fin; fourth, and occasionally third spine usually longest, 2.0-2.3 in head length. Caudal fin truncate. Pectoral fins pointed, length 1.7-1.8 in head length. Pelvic fin length 1.8-2.1 in head length.


To around 18 cm SL


Dusky brown on back grading to yellowish on ventral surface, sides silvery with 10 faint, narrow bars dorsally extending to slightly below midline; dorsal, anal, and caudal fins dusky; pelvic and pectoral fins yellowish, pectoral base dark.


Carnivore - feeds by accurately spitting jets of water to dislodged small insects from vegetation above the surface of the water.


Oviparous pelagic spawners likely to breed early in the wet season.

Species Citation

Toxotes lorentzi Weber 1910, Notes Leyden Mus. 32(4): 232. Type locality: freshwater pool near Merauke, South New Guinea [Irian Jaya]


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Primitive Archerfish, Toxotes lorentzi Weber 1910


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. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls.

Allen, G.R. 1991. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea. Christensen Research Institute, Madang, Papua New Guniea.

Allen, G.R. 2001. Toxotidae. pp. 3212-3215 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

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 DOI:10.3853/j.0067-1975.56.2004.1423. Open access

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., Storey, A.W. & Yarrao, M. 2008. Freshwater Fishes of the Fly River Papua New Guinea. Tabubil, Papua New Guinea : Ok Tedi Mining 216 pp.

Hitchcock, G. 2002. Fish Fauna of the Bensbach river, southwest Papua New Guinea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 48(1): 119-122.

Jenkins, A., Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H. 2009. Toxotes lorentzi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 24 September 2013.

Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes.  Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs. (as Protoxotes lorentzi).

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1.  Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp. 142 figs.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.

Pusey, B.J., Burrows, D.W., Kennard, M.J., Perna, C.N., Unmack, P.J., Allsop, Q. & Hammer, M.P. 2017. Freshwater fishes of northern Australia. Zootaxa 4253(1): 1-104. DOI: Abstract

Taylor, W.R. 1964. Fishes of Arnhem Land. Records of the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land 4: 44-307 figs 1-68

Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089

Weber, M. 1910. Neue Fische aus Niederländisch Süd-Neu-Guinea.Notes Leyden Mus. 32(4): 225–240 fig. 3 

Whitley, G.P. 1950. Studies in Ichthyology No. 14. Records of the Australian Museum 22(3): 234-245 figs 1-5 pl. 17 (as Prototoxotes lorentzi)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37359003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Freshwater streams & swamps

Max Size:18 cm SL

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