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The genus Toxotes contains the seven archerfish species. This is the only genus in the small family Toxotidae, found in tropical Southeast Asia, Australia, India and islands in the Western Pacific. Archerfish are omnivorous, eating vegetative matter, zooplankton, rotifers, small insects and invertebrates and fish, mostly at the water’s surface. These fish are probably best known for their unique way of hunting non-aquatic insects by shooting a jet of water with remarkable precision to knock their prey into the water, often as the prey sits on a perch above the archerfish. This is possible because their eyes are specially adapted to compensate for the change in refraction from water to air. Archerfish live in schools, and have been shown to learn to predict the trajectories of moving targets from each other. Toxotes chatareus and Toxotes jaculatrix, live mainly in brackish water, in particular mangrove swamps and estuaries, but sometimes moving into fresh waters further upstream. These species can grow quite large, up to 40 cm long. They are popular species in the aquarium trade. The other species are smaller, growing about 15-20 cm long, and live primarily in fresh waters. One freshwater species, Toxotes microlepis, is also popular in aquaria.

(Froese and Pauly 2004; Monks 2007; Schuster et al. 2006; Tan 2001; Temple et al. 2009; Wikipedia 2012)


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