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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Spotted Archerfish

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5







Order : Perciformes
Species : Toxotes chatareus
Maximum Length : 40 cm (generally up to 25 cm)

The Spotted Archerfish Toxotes chatareus is a member of a closely related group of fishes of the genus Toxotes:  seven species are recognised by Fishbase, of which 6 occur in Southeast Asia.

Archerfishes are renowned for their ability to spit a stream of water from their mouths to knock down insects and other prey from vegetation. This is done with remarkable accuracy, such that the prey is taken unawares and tumbles from its perch to the water below to be immediately consumed.

The jet of water is reckoned to reach around 1.5 metres or more. Archerfish have also been observed leaping from the water to directly grab prey from nearby vegetation.

The Spotted Archerfish occurs mainly in brackish habitats, such as river estuaries and mangroves, but is also known to move some distance upstream into freshwater habitats.

It prefers shaded areas along the margins of these habitats, where it also feeds on floating insects and organic debris.

It can be distinguished from the similar Banded Archerfish Toxotes jaculatrix by the 4 large, well-defined, circular black spots on the upper flanks, between which are smaller black blotches (thus, 7 or 8 black markings may be present, including one at the base of the tail fin). The rim of the eye-socket is golden. 

This species is wide-ranging and occurs in many parts of Southeast Asia and beyond.

Fig 1 : Example from Sungei Pandan, a mangrove inlet on the south coast of Singapore Island.

Fig 2 : Sungei Pandan, Singapore at low tide.

Fig 3 : Example from Pulau Kukup, Straits of Malacca, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 4 : Pulau Kukup mangrove forest at low tide.

Fig 5 : Example from the banks of the Muar River estuary, at Muar, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

References : F3