Animals & Attractions

We are currently home to a small group of banded archerfish.

In the zoo

They can be seen in the entrance tanks at Brilliant Birds.

In the wild

Banded archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix) are native to Australia, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and India. They live in mangrove swamps and feed on a variety of insects, plant matter, crustaceans and small fish.

Adult banded archerfish can reach 20-30 cm in length and both sexes have an oblong body shape, silver in colour with black, wedge shaped bands running down from their backs.

These fish are famous for their unusual hunting tactics. They lurk just beneath the surface under low lying vegetation. When they see the silhouette of an insect through a leaf they move into position and shoot a powerful jet of water beads from their mouth. This knocks the insect into the water and within just 50 milliseconds of it landing, the archer fish has the insect safely locked in its jaws. These water beads can travel up to 1.5m (5ft).

Although they are not currently classed as endangered, they are threatened by the destruction of their mangrove habitat. Others are collected and sold into the aquarium trade.

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