The Archerfish: A Living Squirt Gun


On the surface, the archerfish looks just like your average aquarium fish.  It doesn’t look flashy or even all that interesting.  However, this fish has some astounding abilities.  As its name indicates, this fish is able to hunt with the accuracy and precision of an archer.  It does this by shooting a jet of water toward a bug or small animal, knocking it off of a tree or plant into the water, and then gobbling it up.  This ability is only possible because of some unique qualities.  Let’s examine these qualities:

Mouth: Instead of being flat and smooth, the archerfish has a little channel that runs from the back of the throat to the front top lip.  When it presses its tongue to the top of its mouth, it forms a little waterway to shoot through.  Once this channel is formed, it will swim up to the surface of the water and snap its gills shut.  Quickly shutting their gills will propel water through the mouth and out.  The result is a water pistol.  This little 8-inch fish can shoot with pinpoint accuracy from 4 feet away.  However, they can squirt as far as 12 feet and up to 7 times in quick succession.  This incredible ability is only possible because of its special mouth.

Abilities of Adjustment: Sniping a bug from underwater is not easy by any means.  The reason is because of a problem called “refraction.”  Since water and air have different qualities, it causes what we see to look different when looking from air into water or vice versa.  Sometimes it makes an object look bent or makes it look like it is in one location when it is actually in another (See Picture Below).  So, when the archerfish tries to hit a target from underwater, it will miss it unless it accounts for refraction.  Incredibly, a baby archerfish quickly figures out the problem of refraction and adjusts its aim!  Soon, it becomes a master calculator of angels and refraction.  Even though refraction changes with the angle the archerfish shoots from, it is able hit a target with sniper like precision from angles between 45 and 110 degrees (Temple).  This is hard enough for intelligent humans to do, which is why it is even more amazing that a fish is able to pull these shots off.

Refraction-of-light36 Looking at all of these astounding qualities makes one wonder how this fish could have evolved and why it would have done it in the first place?  See, there is no shortage of bugs in this world.  It’s not like it needed to develop this water pistol ability to survive.  In fact, it gathers most of its food by eating floating insects, jumping for bugs, or eating things in the water, not by sniping bugs from the trees (Encyclopedia).  If evolution were really a fact, then why would the archerfish evolve these amazing, yet unnecessary, abilities?  Why haven’t other fish evolved the same ability?  Beyond all of this, how did the archerfish develop the channel at the roof of its mouth and know to put its tongue at the top to make a water pistol?  How did an unintelligent animal figure out and master the problem of refraction?  Evolution does not give clear and believable answers to these questions.  Incredible features like these do not “just happen by time and chance.”

Seeing so many unanswered questions about evolution further points to the true reason the archerfish is so amazing.  The archerfish and all of its remarkable features were intricately designed to show there is a God!  Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”  The archerfish is one more proof of God’s creation that is “clearly seen.”


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