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laterally compressed fish, genus Toxotes, which catches insects by spitting at and disabling them. The archerfish has a groove in the roof of its mouth that forms a long narrow tube when the tongue is placed against it; the fish propels drops of water along the tube by compressing its gill covers. Some archerfishes can shoot as far as 12 ft (3.5 m), with reasonable accuracy up to about 4 ft (1.2 m). Apparently they are able to correct the trajectory after missing a target. Shooting down insects is an auxiliary method of food-getting for the archerfish, which feeds mostly on insects floating in the water. The five archerfish species inhabit fresh and brackish coastal water in India and SE Asia. The species most often displayed in aquariums is T. jaculatrix, a silver fish with black stripes, which grows as long as 8 in. (20 cm). Archerfishes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Toxotidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Toxotes jaculator), a fish of the family Toxotidae, order Percomorphi. It lives in fresh waters of south-eastern Asia and near the shores of the Indian Ocean and adjacent parts of the Pacific Ocean. Body length is up to 20 cm. Archerfish feed on insects, getting their food in a unique manner: by emitting a thin stream of water from their mouth to a distance up to 1.5 m (hence the Russian common name bryzgun, “sprayer”), they accurately knock insects off the branches and roots of coastal plants.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for any member of the fresh-water family Toxotidae in the order Perciformes; individuals eject a stream of water from the mouth to capture insects.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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