By pressing its tongue against a bony groove in the roof of its mouth, an archerfish can shoot a jet of water as far as ten feet to knock down the insects it eats. Possessing remarkable eyesight, they can also compensate for defraction, so they have excellent aim. They are typical inhabitants of mangrove swamps and river mouths in Southeast Asia and other parts of the Western Pacific. This species tolerates a wide range of salinities, including freshwater.
When these amazing frogs first appeared in zoos in the 1970s, they created a sensation and remained very rare in collections until the mid-1980s. They are now widespread in captivity, thanks to their popularity. As with other poison dart frogs, captive-bred animals raised on fruit flies and crickets lose their toxic qualities. Found only on a few "islands" of forest, arising out of the Sipaliwini savannah of Suriname and Brazil, they are considered vulnerable to extinction, so that their status as a self-sustaining captive population is especially satisfying.
This popular aquarium fish was unknown to science until 1956, when ichthyologists at the Smithsonian Institution and Stanford University published descriptions a day apart. It took a meeting of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature to determine the Smithsonian had published first. Found only in the Rio Negro and Orinoco Rivers, they are provided both through ecologically sustainable collecting in Brazil and fish farms in Asia and Europe.