Archerfish, also known as spinner fish, are best known for their cunning hunting tactics. Whether attacking their terrestrial prey or firing jets of water from their unique and specialized mouths, all contribute in making this cunning family of fish unique from other fish species. But a group of scientists have suggested that they are smarter and sharper in their hunting abilities than previously imagined.
The scientists at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, have said that these marine creatures have the ability to fine-tune the ‘hydrodynamic properties’ of the water streams to launch a more effective attack on their prey over variable distances.
Archerfish (Toxotes jaculatrix), which mainly inhabit the mangroves and brackish waters of river estuaries, are adept with the quality of precise shooting at their targets including water animals and land-based animals, like lizards, spiders and insects, from different distance while they are hanging on leaves and branches.
We knew that the spinner fish have excellent eyesight which helps them in hunting their prey with accuracy. Along with this, they also have the ability to compensate the light phenomenon occurring due to refraction process while it passes through the air-water interface.
The new study had added on the findings of previous studies. It says the spinner fish are blessed with a unique ability to use the water for shooting by forming them in the shape of a gun barrel.
They trap the water between the roof of their mouths and then form the gun-barrel-like shape. Once the water is amassed in their mouth, they close their gills to build up massive energy at the tip of the water stream to launch a power pact attack on their prey.
Stefan Schuster, of the University of Bayreuth, said that the main aim of the research was to study the water-firing capabilities of these unique fish in Thailand.
Schuster and his colleague, Peggy Gerullis, started training fish to hit targets positioned at heights of 20- 60 centimeters. The researchers then carried in-depth study on the formation of jet stream.
The researchers analysed the video footage of the jet stream and found that the fish could change the shape of the tip of water stream.
Researchers said that the stream tip became thicker at the point of impact so as to launch a forceful attack with a large volume of water.
The study was published in the journal Current Biology under the title ‘Archerfish Actively Control the Hydrodynamics of Their Jets’.
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