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Electric Eel
( Electrophorus electricus )

Electric Eel - Electric Eel information - Electric Eel facts



The Electric eel is truly a remarkable animal not only from the biological but also from the physical point of view. It is the only animal which can make an electric discharge of approximately 500 Volts. It is spread in the South America in Guianas then in the Orinoco and the Amazon basin. There it inhabits fast moving waters.
It has got long and rounded body with small eyes. Its colour is dark brown. The eel can be up to 2.4 m (8 feet) long. The electric eel does not have any pelvic, dorsal or tail fin. Because of that its swimming can also be called as wriggling because its movements are made by the anal fin. An adult eel feeds on small fishes and young eels eat insects.
The most interesting feature on this electric fish is its electric organs. Electrophorus electricus has got three of them. These unique organs are made of electroplates which are located in rows. These electroplates are serial connected which means that even a small electrical output may be increased several times because these electric outputs are summed. Consequently, at the end the electric output is strong enough to kill a small fish or to make an injury to a human being. By causing this electric shock the electric eels get their food.
Despite all of that these electric organs have another function as well. They also emit electric pulses. On the eelís skin there are a number of electric sensors which are able to detect these signals back. This is the way how the electric eels orientate themselves in the water and also communicate between one another. The dominant male eel emits the loudest, the noisiest and the most frequent signals whereas the female eels emit short lasting signals. These electric features were firstly studied by C.W. Coated of the New York Aquarium in 1920s. However the first report about this fascinating animal was made by a Frenchman J. Richter in 1729.




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