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Any of five species (family Toxotidae) of Indo-Pacific fishes noted for their ability to knock their insect prey off overhanging vegetation by shooting it with drops of water expelled from their mouth. Archer fishes are elongated and have a relatively deep body that is almost flat from the dorsal fin forward. The head is pointed, the mouth is large, and the dorsal and anal fins are placed toward the back of the body. Different species are spotted or vertically banded with black. Archer fishes live in both fresh and salt water, usually remaining near the surface. One well-known species (Toxotes jaculator, or jaculatrix) grows to about 7 in. (18 cm) long.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on archer fish, visit Britannica.com.
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