Saturday, October 22, 2005

Illustraton Friday - Remote- Archer Fish

The Illustration Friday topic is Remote this week.
I wasn't sure at first about the topic and then when i went outside i saw a garden spider sitting in the middle of its orb web.
That made me think of remote sensing as the spiders sit on the edge of their webs, with their legs touching the strands so that the spider will be alerted immediately if some unsuspecting prey blunders in.
So i sat down intending to paint a spider and then while thinking about being remote from the prey i then thought that a shark might be a better idea for the word 'remote' . Sharks have such fantastic senses they can smell blood or the feel the vibrations of a fish in trouble from a long way away. I sat down and looked through my reference photos that we had taken at sea life centres over the years and watched some shark videos. I started to wonder if maybe shark was too easy an answer to the topic and wondered about fish that might kill remotely.
Electric eels came to mind since they will discharge elecrticity to stun their prey as well as for defence. However, i didn't have any decent reference material for the electric eel so i've put that on the back burner until something better comes up.
It was an easy jump then from electric eels to archer fish - at least for me. =)

I remember being amazed by the proficiency of the archer fish [Toxotidae family] when i first heard about them.
The fish swims along, camouflaged by the dark patches on its upper body, and spits jets of water at bugs -which knocks the bug into the water and into the waiting mouth of the archer fish.

Their eyes have very good vision and they can spit water up to 2 metres [6 feet] . Accuracy is said to be 99% which is phenomenal. They will also jump out of the water to catch insects directly.
They are not true freshwater fish but like to be in brackish water as their natural habitat is mangrove swamp [ swamp in areas washed by the sea tides -therefore salt or semi salt water]


asdsdfdfgfgh said...

It's funny - we were watching "The Life Aquatic" last night - the movie with Bill Murray searching for the "Jaguar" shark a la Jaques Cousteau.

Your illustration reminded me of the books my Dad used to have when I was young - one of his hobbies was diving, so he had books about all kinds of fish and undersea creatures.

Don said...

Nice archer rendering!

We had one of these for a while in a split-level tank and would feed it live crickets. They'd be crawling along a branch over the water and *ZOT* down they go.

It's Meng said...

It's more amazing still when you think of refraction of light at the water's surface and the Archer's aim. Then again, they must have a built in visual compensation... which makes me wonder if their perception underwater is off by a couple degrees (see them swimming into mangrove roots, etc).

Great work on the fish.

Holly said...

I love the fish. It is quite a great idea on the theme. Well done.

Rowantree said...

First time I saw the archer fish on TV I can´t belived. Nice capture about this week topic !

marion said...

A bold and fun fish image, if ever I saw one! :)

Giles said...

I love the expression on the archer fish :) Your write-up about the fish was cool too...thanks.

isay said...

i saw two of them last year when we went to a museum and i was so amazed and can't stop looking at them. i took a picture but turned out bad because it was low batt already. i find them beautiful just like your illustration plus the very greenish leaf in your illo.

carla said...

I just adore reading your truly fascinating "articles" on such a variety of esoteric topics! Your illsurtations are always splendid as well. The fish is so perfectly rendered with the sense of smoothness on its body and the more flexible look of its fins.

rubio2d said...

I like reading your blog!
This fish it's great!
(I've doing alot of "fishing" illos in my real life work just now..but this one it's really alive.Love the details on it and a that clear and bright composition.
great work!

Anonymous said...

Very well executed illustration with fish! You are very talented!

Anonymous said...

You have a real knack for drawing/illustrating natural history subjects. Me like.


Sybille said...

A lovely picture well rendered. I really, really like this. Would work great for non-fiction children's books. There's even enough space for text. :-)

Mustashrik said...

simple and sweet!

Lockjaw said...

Great rendering of one of my favorite fish, my other favorite being the Clown fish - hint hint ;)
I wonder what word to suggest @ IF to persuade you to do one?