Archer Fish

Fish spits, a sniper

fast precision serving lunch.

Insect meets its doom

The next time you go to the Baltimore aquarium, which is where I would be most of the time if given the choice, find the AnimalPlanet Australia exhibit and ask a docent if you can see the Archerfish being fed. Fair warning, expect to get wet. Archerfish live in the brackish water of mangrove forests where they eat insects from the surface of the water. Rather than waiting for a chance insect falling, the fish squirts a stream of water at a tasty morsel on one of the many roots and branches that jut out over the water. They have amazing vision and brain processing power to be able to correctly adjust for image distortion from the water, distortion from the water-air barrier and distortion of the air and are able to make consistently accurate strikes. Not only can they hit the small target, studies have shown that the fish is able to guess where the insect will land in the water from observing ten milliseconds of it falling before speeding off to make sure a fellow fish doesn’t claim its prize. It has been suggested that this is the only known example of predictive hunting, where an animal chases down its prey without using sensory input to get an update on the prey’s location.


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