How much do you know about archer fish? This fascinating sea creature is not just another tropical fish with pretty colors in the vast biodiversity of Raja Ampat – unlike other fish species that would hunt underwater, the archer fish has a unique way of hunting for insects - it “shoots” at its prey sitting above the water line using powerful jets of water produced from its mouth. This stream of water is aimed at insects sitting on branches or leaves above the surface. With incredible accuracy, it knocks them down into the water, where it scoops them up for a delicious meal. 

These jets of water can go as high as two or three meters and are produced from special grooves in the archer fish’s mouth. It can shoot up to seven jets from a single mouthful of water with surprising precision and can even jump out of the water and into the air to use its body to knock its prey down.

Why Are They Called Archer Fish?

 

The name archer fish came about from the fish’s ability to spray a powerful “arch” of water from its mouth to shoot down its prey both above and underwater. It has been seen to hit targets up to 1.5 meters away.

Archer fish are considered to be one of the most intelligent fish species. According to a recent study by National Geographic, the archer fish proved that it could identify human faces by squirting a stream of water at the correct image on a screen. The fish continued to recognize that image even when the face was rotated by 30, 60, and 90 degrees, from a frontal view to a profile.

 

Behind the scenes of Planet Earth III

The archer fish is so unique and fascinating that BBC’s Planet Earth III team traveled to Raja Ampat to film this unique creature in its natural habitat. If you don’t already know, Planet Earth III is a British nature documentary series presented and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, produced by Nick Easton, and co-produced by BBC Studios, BBC America, and the Open University. It premiered in the UK on 22 October 2023 to over 7 million UK viewers. The archer fish of Raja Ampat appeared in the very first episode, showcasing its remarkable hunting skills and the importance of mangrove forests as a habitat for marine life.

 

 

The expedition was led by world-renowned underwater cinematographer Roger Munns, who stated on his website that “the archer fish is the most wonderfully evolved marine species” he knows.  Sorido Bay Resort proudly hosted the entire film crew while they were in Raja Ampat, which comprised Roger Munns, Yoland Bosiger (Director and camera assistant), Mitch Buckley (Topside camera), and Joe Faithfull (Fixer). Throughout their five-week stay, they were graciously assisted by the Papua Diving Resort’s team, managed by Chris Harvey.

Also on his website, Munns wrote in detail about the cinematography and equipment involved in the shoot; he used a Red DSMC2 camera inside a Gates underwater housing to follow the archer fish as it navigated the mangrove roots. For the predation shots he switched to the high-speed Phantom Veo camera inside a custom-built Nauticam underwater housing which allowed him to film at up to 1000 frames per second, noting that the filming process was “challenging in so many ways”.

The scene is astounding and a work of art, and we at Papua Diving Resorts are both humbled and proud to have Sorido Bay Resort indirectly involved with the production. You can read more of Munns’ experience filming the archer fish in Raja Ampat on his website, and watch the archer fish in action in the behind-the-scenes video The Fish with Incredible Shooting Aim | Planet Earth III Behind the Scenes | BBC Earth.

Raja Ampat Dive Sites

 

When you stay with us at Papua Diving Resorts, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to explore the wonders of Raja Ampat both above and underwater. On diving safaris, we’ll take you to the most popular dive sites including Cape Kri, Melissa’s Garden, Blue Magic, Sardines, Manta Sandy & more. Options for night diving are also available. You can also opt for excursions to Mushroom Bay, P-47 Plane Wreck, and the Fam Islands. Other exciting activities to consider include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, hikes to waterfalls, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting. 

Those who want to maximize their diving experience in Raja Ampat can always book our Unlimited Dive Package. To access an array of exceptional packages, rates, activities, and enticing offers, kindly click on the link BOOK NOW, you will discover a comprehensive compilation of our offerings, meticulously designed to cater to your needs and desires.

Sorido Bay Resort

 

Indulge in the epitome of luxury during your stay in Raja Ampat at Sorido Bay Resort. Our exclusive collection of seven charming bungalows offers spacious rooms with exquisite en-suites. Each accommodation is equipped with either air conditioning or a fan, ensuring your utmost comfort. Relax on the veranda, providing a captivating panoramic view of our vibrant house reef.

Ready to meet the archer fish and immerse in Raja Ampat’s biodiversity with Papua Diving Resorts? Book your Raja Ampat diving holiday with the best rates and inclusions now.