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Fish artfully target prey by spitting jets of water

By Natalie Crofts | Posted - Sep. 18, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.


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GERMANY — Insects, spiders and small lizards aren’t safe from an archerfish’s hunt, even when out of the water.

Archerfish can skillfully target prey sitting on leaves and twigs above the water by shooting jets of water out of its mouth. Researchers recently trained the fish to shoot targets in a lab setting to test the accuracy and limits of the fish’s aim, according to a new study.

"The predominant impression from our fieldwork in Thailand over several years is that there is very little to actually shoot at, so it's important for the fish to be efficient," researcher Stefan Schuster said in a statement. "It pays to be able to powerfully hit prey over a wide range of distances."

New York Times science writer Jim Gorman further explores the archerfish’s ability in an entertaining ScienceTake video. The study by the University of Bayreuth, in Germany, was published in Current Biology on Sept. 4.

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Natalie Crofts

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