Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37359000


Archerfishes, Rifle Fish

Compiler and date details

25 January 2012 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross, Connie J. Allen, Matthew M. Lockett & Douglass F. Hoese

December 2006 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross & Connie J. Allen


The family Toxotidae comprises the single genus Toxotes with seven species. Four species are found in northern Australia (Allen et al. 2002). Allen (1978) reviewed the toxotids.

Archerfishes are found in the tropical Indo-west Pacific region from India and Sri Lanka to Melanesia and Australia. Most species occur in freshwater, but T. jaculatrix is usually estuarine (in mangroves) and Toxotes chatareus is sometimes found in brackish water. In northern Australia, they are common in rivers and smaller streams, and also in lakes and billabongs where they feed on insects and floating vegetation taken from the surface. Archerfishes are renowned for their ability to 'shoot' down insects from over-hanging vegetation. The palate contains a deep longitudinal groove that is converted to a tube when the tongue is pressed against the roof of the mouth. When the gill covers are suddenly compressed water is forced from the pharynx into this tube, and with the tip of the tongue acting as a valve, the flow of water, under pressure, is regulated. The maximum size is about 40 cm, but most are under about 25 cm. They provide sport for recreational anglers and the flesh of large fish is good eating. Archerfishes are also attractive aquarium pets.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
12-Nov-2012 12-Nov-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)