Aquarium gives its Archerfish target practice


The Blue Reef Aquarium in Hastings has recently provided a fake fly mobile above its archerfish exhibit, giving its inhabitants something to spit at.

Archerfish are native to the Indo-West Pacific well-known for their ability to knock down insects and other small prey into the water by shooting drops of water out of their mouths.

The fish perform this feat by pressing the tongue against a narrow groove in the roof of the mouth and contracting its gill covers.

According to Daniel Davies of the aquarium, Before we put the fake flies in they were taking the occasional pot shot at overhanging leaves and other objects around their display but you could see their hearts weren't really in it.

Our first attempt was to stick pieces of food to the side of the glass and that seemed to catch their attention. They would position themselves directly below and take it in turns to spit until it fell into the water.

It was then we decided to take the experiment one stage further by devising the fake fly mobile and now it's in place they're really going for it.