archer fish
image credit: Scott Linstead

archer fishimage credit: 

archer fishimage credit: Scott Linstead
Habitat: India, Philippines, Australia, and Polynesia

The sharpest shooter in the animal kingdom is the Archer fish, known for its ability to literally shoot its land-based prey out of the air! Amazingly, adult fish almost always hit the target on the first shot.

The jet of water they shoot can be up to 2–5 m long, but their accuracy only allows them to shoot insects 1–2 m away depending on body size. The fish can alter the power of the shot for prey of different sizes. If the fish doesn’t get what it wants on the first try, it will keep shooting till it does. Persistence pays off!

Young archerfish start shooting when they are about 2.5 cm long, but are naturally pretty bad at first so must practice, practice, practice to get as good as their parents. During this learning period, they hunt in small schools. That way, the probability is enhanced that at least one jet will hit its target.