Smallscale Archerfish, Toxotes microlepis

The Smallscale Archerfish lives in large rivers throughout Asia and the Indo-Pacific. This is a freshwater fish and does not travel into salt water. It can survive in moving or standing water, near the shore with overhanging vegetation.

The Smallscale archerfish has large eyes and a pointed snout, with a flat back and curved belly. It has one dorsal (fin on top) with 4 or 5 spines and soft rays behind it. The body is covered with 40 to 42 lateral lined scales and 4 or 5 dark bars running lengthways. Some smallscale archerfish from the Mekong only have 34 to 37 lateral lined scales.

Maximum length for the Smallscale archerfish is 5.9 inches in the wild, but in an aquarium it will only reach 4.7 inches in length. Sometimes the Smallscale archerfish is mistaken for the banded archerfish, both have the same markings but the Smallscale archerfish’s bands stop below the dorsal fin, whereas the banded archerfish’s extend to the fin. Its snout is also smaller.

The smallscale archerfish feeds on zooplankton, crustaceans, insect larvae, and as with the Largescale archerfish, it can shoot down insects by spitting a stream of water.

Spawning in the wet season, usually May or June, the female will lay 20,000 to 150,000 eggs.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Toxotidae

Image Caption: Drawing of a Smallscale Archerfish by Sir Francis Day. Credit: Sir Francis Day/Wikipedia