Kimberley Archerfish, Toxotes kimberleyensis Allen 2004

Other Names: Large Scale Archerfish, Large-scale Archerfish, Western Archer Fish

Kimberley Archerfish, Toxotes kimberleyensis. Source: Gunther Schmida. License: All rights reserved


silvery-white archerfish with 4-5 dark wedge-shaped bars or saddles, mostly on the upper sides and no spots between the bars. Adults have dusky to blackish dorsal and anal fins, while the fins of juveniles are transparent to whitish.

Until the Kimberley Archerfish was described in 2004, it was thought to be Toxotes oligolepis, which has longer and stouter dorsal-fin spines, fewer lateral line scales, and is only known from Indonesia.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Toxotes kimberleyensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2024,

Kimberley Archerfish, Toxotes kimberleyensis Allen 2004

More Info


Toxotes kimberleyensis is endemic to freshwaters of a relatively small area of the western Kimberley district of Western Australia, including the Fitzroy, Meda, May, and Isdell Rivers, and is especially common in the Fitzroy River, but scarce elsewhere. The species is found at least as far upstream as the Geike Gorge National Park in the Fitzroy system, approximately 300 km upstream from the sea.

The Kimberley Archerfish inhabits deeper rocky, tree-lined pools, swimming near the surface patrolling the shoreline for insects.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin V, 11-13; Anal fin III, 14-16; Pectoral fin 12-13; Pelvic fin I, 5; Caudal fin rays (princpal) 17; Gill rakers (lower limb, first arch 6-7), usually with a single raker on the upper limb; Lateral line scales (tubed) 28-33; Horizontal scale rows above lateral-line to dorsal fin origin 3; Horizontal scale rows below lateral line to anal fin origin 9 (8–10); Circumpeduncular scale rows 16 (17–16).

  • Body deep, compressed, snout pointed, lower jaw protruding slightly; mouth large, oblique, jaws reaching to below middle of eye. Head and body scales very finely ctenoid, but smooth to touch; lateral line almost complete, with a pronounced dorsal inflection above pectoral fin (interrupted by 1-2 tubeless scales above pectoral fin).

    Dorsal-fin origin on rear half of body, above anal-fin origin; third dorsal-fin spine shorter and thinner than fourth and fifth spines; spinous portion of dorsal fin shorter or about equal in height compared to soft portion of fin.

  • Size

    To 15 cm SL


    Silvery white overall with 4-5 wedge-shaped black bars or vertically-elongate spots mostly on the upper sides from behind the eye to the tail base; no intervening spots between bars; dorsal and anal fins dusky-blackish in adults; other fins dusky; fins transparent or whitish in juveniles.


    Archerfishes feed by shooting down terrestrial prey from overhanging vegetation with a jet of water fired from their mouths.


    The Kimberley Archerfish was previously identified as Toxotes oligolepis, based mostly on similarities in the colour pattern.

    Similar Species

    Although similar in colour pattern to Toxotes oligolepis, the Kimberley Archerfish differs in having shorter and weaker dorsal-fin spines, more lateral line scales,


    The species is named kimberleyensis for the type locality.

    Species Citation

    Toxotes kimberleyensis Allen 2004, Rec. Aust. Mus. 56(2): 226, Figs. 1-2. Type locality: Plain Creek Gorge, Beverley Spings Station, 16°35'S, 125°30'E, West Kimberley District, Western Australia.


    Dianne J. Bray

    Kimberley Archerfish, Toxotes kimberleyensis Allen 2004


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

    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. (as Toxotes oligolepis)

    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. (as Toxotes oligolepis)

    Morgan, D.L., G.R. Allen, B.J. Pusey & D.W. Burrows. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64.

    Temple, S., Hart, N.S., Marshall, N.J. & Collin, S.P. 2010. A spitting image: specializations in archerfish eyes for vision at the interface between air and water. Proc. Biol. Sci. 277: 2607-2615.

    Vasserman, G., Shamir, M., Ben Simon, A. & Segev, R. 2010. Coding ʻwhatʼ and ʻwhenʼ in the Archer fish retina. PLoS Comput. Biol. 6, e1000977

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37359004

    Habitat:Deeper rocky, tree-lined freshwater pools

    Max Size:15 cm SL


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