Archerfish are fishes which use jets of water to shoot down their prey with a high level of accuracy and speed. Latest studies reveal that archerfish can hit targets up to 6.5 feet with a jet of water.
Archerfish spits water with immense speed and accuracy and it throws off insects and small animals from their perch and fall into the water to become food of the Archerfish. Archerfish are native to South East and South Asia. Researchers from the University of Bayreuth in Germany studied the fish for a few years in Thailand.
The researchers discovered that the Archerfish uses its tongue and mouth to manipulate the water jet for maximum effect. The fish can shoot down a prey up to 6.5 feet away. The process is not as simple as it seems because it needs pin point accuracy and the fish also has to make correction to take care of the refraction of light.
Stefan Schuster, a researcher at the University of Bayreuth and a co-author of the study, explains how they were able to understand the complex process. The researchers trained the fish to shoot water jets at different targets kept at different heights. The process was filmed using high speed photography.
Schuster found that the Fish does not have single stock shot for all occasions. Instead it can vary the speed and the angle of the shots according to the target. The force of the water jet could be adjusted by changing the shape of the mouth. The timing of the mouth is crucial to achieve maximum force and acceleration to stun the prey. It is just like the human arm which adjusts the muscle power to vary the distance of any object which is thrown.
Reasons Schuster, “It is believed that this ability has forced our brains to become bigger, housing many more neurons to afford the precision. With the many neurons around, they could be used for other tasks apart from applying them for powerful throws. It is remarkable that the same line of reasoning could also be applied to archerfish.”
The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.