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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Creature Feature: Archerfish.

There is a certain attack in Pokemon called "Water Gun." It's one of those attacks that makes one wonder exactly why it does damage. It's not like a stream of water can hurt anything, right?


String Shot will be used another day.

OK. Maybe a pressurized stream of water can knock wild bugs into a pond, where the marksman can then snap it up. That was one of several fish called archerfish; they are a from the genus Toxotes and are related to perch. Archerfish can be found in the mangrove ecosystems and other freshwater areas in India, Australia, and the Philippines.

This does not look nearly as good as a still image.

Archerfish make human snipers look lame for using weapons. They have a hollow groove in their mouths that they use like the barrel of a gun. Closing their gills pushes pressurized water through this groove; archerfish are usually able to hit prey on the first shot. It takes practice, but the fish figures it out pretty fast. Even if the first shot fails, the fish tries again.

The precision of this water shot is even more amazing when one considers how hard it is to shoot from beneath the water. Ever try to catch a fish swimming beneath the surface of a moving body of water? It's pretty darn hard. Now try catching a tiny little insect from beneath the water with a squirt gun. There are some seriously impressive visual capabilities and physics involved with every shot the archerfish makes.

The archerfish as a textbook physics example.


Archerfish will shoot at anything that glows and/or moves. That may seem a little stupid, but it's still pretty impressive for a fish. They will also leap out of the water and eat bugs that just so happen to be nearby, but that is not nearly as awesome as their built-in squirt guns.

Water Gun: It's super-effective!

Tomorrow: A frog with...WHAT THE HELL? What did this frog do to its back?!

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