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Toxotes Microlepis

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severum boy

Fish Herder
May 25, 2006
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Wells, Somerset
Hey all,
Ive been looking on the internet for infomation on Toxotes microlepis but it seems sparse. A fish store near me has one archer in and I suspect this is what it is. I just want to know how to differenciate this fish from other archers, and if anyone has kept some before.

Thanks in advance, Max

Moderators: feel free to move this to brackish if nessisary, I just thought that as Toxotes microlepis is a freshwater specie then it should go here, but its your call.
T. microlepis is a freshwater species that sometimes lives in brackish water. It can be kept in brackish water permamently, but it clearly gets unhappy if the SG is too high. I'd suggest 1.005 at most. Distinguishing T. microlepis from T. jaculatrix isn't easy, but I have some pictures that might help on my web page. Note especially the spots on the dorsal fin: on T. microlepis they are distinct from the bands on the body, but on T. jaculatrix they usually merge with them.


T. microlepis is quite widely kept, sometimes without realising it. Apart from its smaller size (12-15 cm in aquaria) it is otherwise identical to the other archers in terms of behaviour and diet.

Cheers, Neale
Thanks Neale, do they do ok kept on their own or are they shoaling? I know most archers do shoal, but only in larger aquaria where they can diperse aggression.
They do fine kept on their own. It probably isn't the *ideal* way to keep them, but they aren't notably unhappy kept singly. Given there small size though, keeping a group isn't as difficult as it is with T. jaculatrix.

Cheers, Neale
I have nothing to add except I thought you might like to know that
Toxotes is Greek and means bowman
Micro is from Greek, mikros meaning small
Lepis is also Greek and means scales

so you have a bowman with small scales. :good:
And I believe the "jaculatrix" bit in Toxotes jaculatrix means "I throw". For years there was debate over whether this should be "jaculator" or "jaculatrix", the argument being over whether "Toxotes" is a masculine or feminine name. I believe they chose the feminine name, but I'm not a scholar of Greek so hesitate to say how they worked it out.

One native name for archerfish is "Puhuduki", which i have just learned means "shoot at ants", a references to what they eat and how they get them.

Cheers, Neale
according to fishbase toxotes is feminine, which is rather odd seeing as it means bowman and not bow-woman.

I'm researching a lot of the genus names and many really have no relationship to the actual fish
for instance the suffix chromis means a marinefish without identification and is often given to freshwater fish :S
I suppose these scientist have to justify their massive rersearch grants somehow :p
Well, as someone who's coined a few Latin names, as well as had two animals name after me, including a fish*, I know a little about how Latin names work. In zoology, at least; botany is very different (and arguably more sensible).

Names like "chromis", "julis", and "sargus", which are simply a kind of sea fish are sort of like "perch" or "minnow" in English; they sort of apply to certain types of fish, but don't really single out any one species. Hence in the Latin names these Greek (!) fish names end up getting stuck to all sorts of fish names. Chromis to various damsels and cichlids, Julis to wrasses, and sargus to sea breams.

Eventually though you run out of Greek or Latin names for things, and people simply make stuff up. One of my favorites is the ammonite Rossalites. The type specimen (the fossil upon which the species was based) was a long, stocky, slightly bent object with a knobbly end. Ray Casey didn't give the etymology in the original description, but he told me what it was years afterwards when I was doing my PhD. It was based upon a limerick doing the rounds at the time (1960s):

There was a young man from Rossal,
Who found a remarkable fossil.
He could tell by the bend,
And the knob at the end,
’Twas the penis of St. Paul the Apostle.

Cheers, Neale

*Ellaserrata monksi
That's a great photo of you on that site Neale. :lol:

I've always wondered how you could get a fish named after yourself. I think such and such carletoni has a nice ring to it. But, Im certainly not going to rush out and attain all the academic achievements to do it.

Oh, and with regards to Toxotes Microlepis, you can keep a group, but it can be a bit difficult. I originally bought a trio (the last 3 in the shop, Ideally I would have had 6) and one died for no reason, then one of the 2 remaining bullied the last fish until it went from white to grey, so I had to rehome him.

I still keep one alone, and he shoals with the chromide he's with.
Green chromides (E. suratensis rather than just wild-type E. maculatus) are excellent fish for diffusing tension in groups. When kept in large numbers these cichlids school beautifully with monos, scats, and archers, and at the London Aquarium they keep a vast school of the things. They don't look terribly impressive in photos, but in the flesh, they're among the loveliest cichlids I know of. Highly recommended, if you have the space for them. I have no idea why they are so overlooked compared with, say, scats or monos.

Oh, and the photo really is one of my best. That's me at Holmes Lake in Lincoln, Nebraska out with Prairie Astronomy Club. No idea where the university got hold of it... I certainly didn't give it to them!

Cheers, Neale
Max, I had a look at the archer today and it looks like Toxotes jaculatrix. But come in next sunday and we can have a good inspection of him to get a more definet answer. :good:
Thanks guys, really good help.

I have nothing to add except I thought you might like to know that
Toxotes is Greek and means bowman
Micro is from Greek, mikros meaning small
Lepis is also Greek and means scales
Thanks Wolf, that is now one of my favourite fish scientific names along with Dormitator maculatus.

Max, I had a look at the archer today and it looks like Toxotes jaculatrix. But come in next sunday and we can have a good inspection of him to get a more definet answer.

Thanks Fred, I intend to. When I last looked at it I saw lots of black blobs away from the top of the body as well as a few lines on its spine. Il get you to net it out and check how many spiny rays it has in the dorsal, should have 5 to be a microlepis i think. I just hope he doesent get eaten by that moray!

Thanks again all, will keep you updated when I go for a further inspection.
Ps, check out the sunning Toxotes bylthii in the photo, wow!
Ok all, after being 99% cirtan about the archer today, I brought him. I also got a few large bags full of brackish water to slowly acclimatise him to freshwater.
He is identicle to the Toxtes microlepis in Practical fishkeeping october 2006, written by Neale Monks.
Thanks for the help everyone, really appreciated. I will post some pictures on another part of the forum when he is in his new tank.
Thanks again, Max
good luck with trying to get a photo, that is one fish i can never get a good pic of him/her never stays still when the camera is out
Hi all, im digging this post up again because I got a photo of the bugger! Yep, it has take this long to actually get one. Its not great, but it shows what you need to check if its a microlepis.


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