Video: Exotic Fish Spits in ‘Planet Earth’ Cameraman’s Eye
Archerfish are known for their unique style of hunting prey. Rather than find animals in the water, they look for food above the surface and attempt to shoot down insects and other critters with jets of water they spit from their mouths.
A crew for Planet Earth III was in Indonesia‘s Raja Ampat mangroves to capture the aquatic animal in its natural habitat for the nature documentary series. But getting the money shot isn’t exactly a walk in the park—or in this case, the water.
“Archerfish are a very challenging fish to film. They’re small, they move erratically, [they’re] pretty shy so they don’t really like the camera being turned on them,” camera operator Roger Munns explained in a behind-the-scenes video for BBC Earth. “So it’s really a game of patience and perseverance.”
Fellow cameraman Mitch Buckley went on to break down how archerfish hunt. “They can spit water very, very accurately and knock down insects, crabs, snails—anything they can see on the mangroves,” he said. “They see something that looks a bit different like a bracelet or a red thing on a camera or the whites of your eye and they have a go.”
Buckley then became part of the demonstration. An archerfish below the surface hot a jet of water upward, hitting him in his eye. “That’s exactly what happens with archerfish,” he laughed while rubbing his eye. “They’re very, very comfortable with us now. Maybe a bit too comfortable, I’d say.” He wasn’t the only one to get hit, as Munns, who was on the crew’s boat, similarly got hit in the eye with a misty jet of water.
It might be worth it to wear sunglasses if you ever find yourself sharing the water with an archerfish.