Spitting fish ‘adjust for distance’ when shooting

Sep 7, 2014

By Jonathan Webb

 

The jets of water that archer fish use to shoot down prey are “tuned” to arrive with maximum impact over a range of distances, according to a study.

High-speed cameras were used to analyse fishes’ spitting performance in detail.

As they create each jet, the fish tweak the flow of water over time, causing a focussed blob of water to gather just in front of the target, wherever it is.

The ability comes from precise changes to the animal’s mouth opening, which may prove useful in designing nozzles.

Senior author Prof Stefan Schuster, from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, explained that jets of water and other fluids are used to cut or shape materials in industries ranging from mining to medicine.

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