Archerfish Spitting fish learn to catch artificial flies In south-east Asia and northern Australia, Archer fish can be seen spitting jets of water up to three meters to knock out insects and spiders and make them fall into the water. Archer fish does for instnace help control the populations of mosquitoes and flies.

In captivity, insects in the air can be scarce – especially during the chilly Bristol winter. That is why a shoal of archer fish living at Bristol’s Blue Reef Aquarium have been given a mobile dotted with plastic flies for target practise.

The archers living in the aquarium are roughly 1.5 years of age and staff said that their natural hunting instinct may have become rusty. To combat this, the staff is now smearing the fake flies with bloddworm so that when a fish manages to hit a fly, tasty bloodworm falls down into the water.

In the summer if we have some insects flying around I’ll be surprised if they don’t go for them,” said senior aquarist Lindsay Holloway.