I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you. Volta’s electric eel (L. Sousa) Indigenous people in Venezuela called it arimna, or “something that deprives you of motion.” Early European naturalists referred to it as the “numb-eel.” And for 250 years, since it was first given a Latin name, Western scientists have known it as Electrophorus electricus, the electric eel, the sole member of its genus, the first and only of its name.
Throughout the animal’s storied history —as Alessandro Volta designed the first synthetic battery based on its body, as Alexander von Humboldt collected it by driving horses into eel-infested pools, as a young Charles Darwin dissected the creature aboard the HMS Beagle, as the physicist Michael Faraday placed his bare hands on it in his quest to understand electricity, and as modern researchers carried out an array of studies to show just how amazing ( and sinister ) its abilities are— Electrophorus electricus has always been regarded as a single species.
The electric eel. Carlos David de Santana, a Brazilian researcher at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, thinks differently. By comparing 107 specimens pulled from museum drawers and the Amazon basin, he and his team of mostly Brazilian scientists have found that the infamous electric eel is actually three distinct species,
Read: Electric eels put their prey in a killer sleeper hold There are dozens of different ways of defining a species, and none are universally accepted. That said, de Santana says that his team “used many lines of evidence to prove that there’s more than one electric eel species.” This trinity differs not only in physique, but also in genetics, habitat, and electric power.
Tellingly, the eels’ DNA suggests that they last shared a common ancestor 7 million years ago, which means that they started to diverge well before brown bears and polar bears, lions and tigers, and even humans and chimpanzees. One of the trio retains the original name Electrophorus electricus, and de Santana now calls it Linnaeus’s electric eel, after the legendary Swedish taxonomist who classified it.
- The two others are now Volta’s electric eel ( Electrophorus voltai ), after the Italian physicist who built a battery based on the animal, and Vari’s electric eel ( Electrophorus varii ), after Richard Peter Vari, a famous ichthyologist who was part of de Santana’s team until his death in 2016.
- Most of the eels used in previous research are likely to be Vari’s eels, since they’re the only species from Peru, the only country from which these animals can be legally exported.) “These findings do not surprise me,” says Graciela Unguez from New Mexico State University.
As researchers sample electric fishes from more parts of South America, she adds, they’re almost bound to find that currently known species harbor more diversity than people suspected. The same goes for unusual animals whose outward distinctiveness can mask subtler differences that become clear only through genetic analyses.
Such studies have shown that there are likely four distinct species of giraffe, three species of mola mola, and two species of African elephants, “We sort of lump the weirdos together,” says Prosanta Chakrabarty from Louisiana State University, “Oh, obviously, this thing is that thing, and no one looks more carefully.
We all thought that an electric eel is an electric eel.” Contrary to appearances, they’re not even eels. They’re knife fishes—a group of mostly small, gill-breathing species that have flattened bodies and that produce weak electric fields for navigation and communication.
- The misnamed eels buck all these trends—weirdos, even within their own family.
- They breathe by rising to the surface and gulping air, which makes them one of the only fish that you can drown.
- Their thick, cylindrical, meaty bodies can reach seven feet in length.
- And the electric organs that make up 80 percent of that length can produce shocks that are strong enough to incapacitate a human or a horse,
Read: The stunning case of leaping electric eels Collecting these animals from the wild, as de Santana did, is not easy. “I do it by myself, or with the help of really experienced fishermen,” he says. “I don’t allow students to do it. It’s never safe.” Even if he wears rubber gloves, the sweat that builds up inside them eventually links up with the water outside them, creating a continuous conductive layer.
Bottom line: You can’t collect electric eels without suffering shocks, which de Santana compares to getting hit with a Taser. It’s even worse in the dry season, when more than 10 individuals can occupy a single stream. “When one starts to discharge, the others do too,” says de Santana. “You just get used to it.
You do what you have to do.” Once the samples were in, the team focused on 10 important genes. Immediately they saw that the eels clustered into three distinct groups, with very little genetic variation within each one, but substantial genetic differences between them.
In one key gene, for example, the three species differ by 6 to 10 percent of their DNA, but individuals within each species differ by 0.3 percent at most. Looking closely, the team realized that there are physical differences among these three species—not in obvious features such as size or color, but in subtler ones, like the flatness of their heads, or the number of pressure-sensitive pores on their flanks.
With experience, de Santana can now tell the three species apart by eye. In the wild, it’s even easier: The three eels live in different habitats, which might explain why they’re distinct. About 7 million years ago, some ancestral electric eel split into two populations.
Vari’s eel lives in lowland floodplains, whose waters are usually murky, muddy, and oxygen-deprived. The two others live in highland rivers, where water is fast-flowing, well oxygenated, and clear. Though they share the same environment, their ranges don’t overlap: Linnaeus’s eel is restricted to northern Amazonia, while Volta’s eel lives in the south.
What separated them? Most likely, the Amazon River itself. Around 9 million years ago, after eons of flowing westward, the mighty river started reversing its course, Its modern eastward flow became entrenched around 2.5 million years ago—exactly when Volta’s and Linnaeus’s eel split into distinct species.
- These different habitats have likely influenced the animals’ use of electricity.
- Clear water contains fewer dissolved minerals than muddy water, and is worse at conducting current.
- So to stun their prey, Volta’s and Linnaeus’s eels either need to get closer than Vari’s eel does or release stronger shocks.
Volta’s eel certainly does the latter: De Santana’s team found that it can discharge up to 860 volts. That’s far higher than the 650 volts commonly cited for electric eels, and beyond the abilities of any other electric fish. Read: A scientist’s shocking discovery about electric eels The three species might also behave differently.
- It’s commonly said that electric eels are solitary hunters that use electricity to locate prey in murky water, but de Santana’s team has evidence that the two clear-water species live in groups and hunt collectively.
- These discoveries, made largely in Brazil and by Brazilian scientists, come at a difficult time for the nation’s researchers.
The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro —the largest natural-history museum in Latin America—was gutted by a fire last year, destroying millions of priceless specimens in a preventable tragedy caused by inadequate funding. The electric eels’ wild habitat is also on fire.
About 40,000 blazes have swept through the Brazilian Amazon this year—an 80 percent rise from last year. Most of these were deliberately ignited to make way for agriculture by burning out forested lands, and the indigenous communities living there. That arson has been tacitly encouraged by Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who promised to undermine protections for the Amazon, open it up for economic development, and wrest control of land from indigenous groups,
“It’s a really bad situation,” says de Santana, who is Brazilian himself. “I go to the Amazon twice a year. From what I’ve seen, I’d say that in 50 years’ time, we’ll only have fragments of what we have today.” The electric eels should serve as reminders of what could be lost as the Amazon shrivels and smolders.
- 1 Did electric eels have a different name?
- 2 Where are electric eels called before electricity?
- 3 Why did electric eels become electric?
- 4 Is the Leviathan an eel?
- 5 Can you eat electric eel?
- 6 What is the electric eel in mythology?
- 7 How many volts is an eel?
- 8 How did the eels get their name?
Did electric eels have a different name?
Classification and Scientific name – Electric eel (Electrophorus electricus), at the New England Aquarium ©Steven G. Johnson / Creative Commons The of this species is Electrophorus Electricus, They are known by a few different names around the world, including ” arimna ” and “numb eel,” though these names are specific to and (respectively).
Where are electric eels called before electricity?
What Were Electric Eels Called Before Electricity? – Carl Linnaeus, “the father of modern taxonomy,” named the electric eel Gymnotus electricus in 1766. ©Steven G. Johnson / Creative Commons Technically, electricity has always existed. There has never been a time without it. And no one invented it, just discovered its existence.
But humans didn’t begin to study it until the 6th century BC when Greek philosopher Miletus began experimenting with amber rods. But Benjamin Franklin was credited with discovering electricity in the 1700s during his kite experiment. And it wasn’t introduced into homes until the late 19th century. When Europeans first recorded the electric eel’s existence in the 1740s, they already understood some of their electric capabilities.
Carl Linnaeus, “the father of modern taxonomy,” named the electric eel Gymnotus electricus in 1766. Long before the Europeans studied the electric eel, indigenous people from South America had their own names for animals. Unfortunately, there are no records of what the natives may have called electric eels before the discovery of electricity.
Why is the name electric eel misleading?
An electric eel’s name is misleading because it is not actually an eel ; it is a type of fish called a ‘knife-fish.’
Why did electric eels become electric?
The arrival of a signal causes positively-charged sodium ions (Na+) to flood into the cell. This flow of ions gives rise to a temporary potential gradient across the cell, and a discharge of electricity.
Is the Leviathan an eel?
Kraken Eel Leviathan Kraken Eel Leviathan in a docile state The Kraken Eel Leviathan, Also known online as Scp-3700-2 is a species of dangerous gulper eel of massive proportions. Unlike its most common rival, The Kraken Eel Leviathan is incredibly aggressive towards humans and will scoop up entire cruise ships full of them just to get them out of its hunting grounds.
- They are found deep in the Magnus Depths and are one of the more successful predators only being beat by the Colosstacean and the,
- They have 30 retractable tentacles around their eel body which allow for grappling and tearing of small prey and it primarily uses its mouth which is able to unleash ranged attacks.
as a Legendary Class creature(Subclass: Grappler), The Kraken Eel Leviathan can reach lengths of up to 300 meters to 40 kilometers. during wars they fly out of the oceans and will use their Blue Flare attack do destroy annoying A-10 Warthogs.
What are the 3 species of electric eels?
All three species— the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus), Vari’s electric eel (E. varii), and Volta’s electric eel (E. voltai) —are found in the Amazon River or its tributaries.
Are electric eels immune to electricity?
How do electric eels generate electricity in water without being a danger to themselves? originally appeared on Quora : the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world, Answer by David Rosen, Physicist retired from the Army Research Laboratory, on Quora : This is begging the question.
- Electric eels do endanger themselves by generating electricity.
- They frequently shock themselves.
- They electrocute other nearby electric eels, not in a fight but by accident.
- Most of the electric eels’ organs are located in a very small region anterior to their tails.
- The electrical (eelectrical?) potential of the electric eel varies along the tail.
Sometimes electric current passes through its vital organs, then the electric eel dies. An electric current through their heart will kill them instantly. So they have to be very careful. However, accidents occur anyway. They reduce the danger to themselves by flexing their bodies in a shape that prevents the electric current from passing through their heart.
- When they are charging up, they stiffen into a line segment very much like a straightedge.
- This way, the electric current only runs parallel to their tail and behind the heart.
- Sometimes, when charging, they fold into a U-shape.
- This provides the greatest current density that they can achieve in their prey, which is near the end of the U.
However, their heads have to be positioned just slightly beyond the distal end of their tail. One slight miscalculation and zap! If they are in a tight place, then it is not easy to move around safely. So they generally don’t charge folded up in a tight space.
- When several of them are squeezed together in a tight place, like when their pond starts to drain, one has no way to tell how the others are oriented.
- So if one feels endangered and charges up in a panic, he can electrocute the whole school and himself.
- Electric eels shocking themselves have been observed both in nature and in aquariums.
It doesn’t happen too often, of course. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Electric eels have to be very careful about themselves and other electric eels! The male electric eel watches over his fry. The fry avoid electrocution by staying near and sometimes in the electric eels mouth.
So the fry and the father communicate to the fry. The father and his offspring communicate through electrical pulses. So the fry know the safest place to be when daddy is cooking up some chow. He also tells them where to go. Daddy never swallows the children. When the family pod is threatened, the children hide in his mouth.
Which is really the safest place to go when he lets it rip. This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+,
Eels : Why isn’t eel more popular as a food in America? Animal Behavior : How do predators find food with their noses? Nature : How do goats descend cliffs?
Can you eat electric eel?
Can you eat an electric eel? – Yes, you can eat an electric eel. But they are not a good source of food for humans because they are very bony and provide very little sustenence.
What is the electric eel in mythology?
Abaia is a huge, magical eel in Melanesian mythology.
Is an electric eel AC or DC?
An article shows that three species of electric eel exist, not just one as previously described, and that one of them produces an electric shock up to 860 volts. Credit: C. David de Santana There are at least three species of electric eels ( Electrophorus spp.), not just one as previously believed. Two new species have recently been described with São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP’s support by a group of researchers affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society, among other institutions. One of the new species can discharge up to 860 volts, the strongest of any known animal. Electric eels are naked-back knifefishes ( Gymnotidae ) and are more closely related to catfish and carp than to other eel families. The study, published in Nature Communications, not only provides new knowledge about the animal more than 250 years after it was first described but also opens up new avenues of research into the origin and production of strong electric discharges in other fish species, Gymnotiformes, the knifefish family to which Gymnotidae belong, are native to Mexico and South America, are found almost exclusively in freshwater habitats, and are mostly nocturnal. There are currently approximately 250 valid gymnotiform species among 34 genera and five families. All are capable of producing a weak electric field for communication and navigation (most have very small eyes). “The electric eel, which can reach 2.5 meters in length, is the only fish that produces such a strong discharge; it uses three electric organs. The shock is used for defense and predation,” said Carlos David de Santana, an associate researcher at the US National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), administered by the Smithsonian Institution, and first author of the article. By correlating DNA, morphology and environmental data, and measuring the discharged voltage, the researchers concluded that the animals in question should be reclassified into three species. The only species of electric eel previously known to science was Electrophorus electricus, which Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus described in 1766. Electrophorus voltai (shown above), one of the two newly discovered electric eel species, primarily lives further south than Electrophorus electricus on the Brazilian Shield, another highland region.Scientists discovered that E. voltai can discharge up to 860 Volts of electricity-significantly more than the previously known 650 Volts generated by E. electricus, This makes the species the strongest known bioelectric generator, and may be an adaptation to the lower conductivity of highland waters. Credit: L. Sousa”> South American rivers are home to at least three different species of electric eels, including a newly identified species capable of generating a greater electrical discharge than any other known animal, according to a new analysis published in the Sept.10, 2019 issue of the journal Nature Communications. Electrophorus voltai (shown above), one of the two newly discovered electric eel species, primarily lives further south than Electrophorus electricus on the Brazilian Shield, another highland region.Scientists discovered that E. voltai can discharge up to 860 Volts of electricity-significantly more than the previously known 650 Volts generated by E. electricus, This makes the species the strongest known bioelectric generator, and may be an adaptation to the lower conductivity of highland waters. Credit: L. Sousa In addition to E. electricus, now defined as the species that lives in the northernmost part of the Amazon region, the researchers found sufficient differences to add two new species to the genus: E. varii and E. voltai, The authors of the article also include Luiz Antonio Wanderley Peixoto, currently at MZ-USP for a postdoctoral internship under the supervision of Aléssio Datovo da Silva, coprincipal investigator for the Thematic Project. “We used voltage as the key differentiation criterion. This has never been done before to identify a new species,” Menezes said. During field measurements using a voltmeter, the researchers recorded a discharge of 860 volts, the highest found in any animal, for a specimen of E. voltai. The strongest shock previously recorded was 650 volts. The name of the species pays homage to Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery in 1799, basing its design on the electric eel.E. varii is named for zoologist Richard P. Vari, a researcher at the Smithsonian who died in 2016. “He was the foreign researcher who most influenced and helped Brazilian students and researchers with the study of fish in South America,” Santana said. Shocking diversity According to Santana, who has entered many rivers to collect electric eels for research purposes and been shocked more than once, the discharge is high voltage but low amperage (approximately 1 amp), so it is not necessarily dangerous to humans. As a comparison, a shock from a power outlet can be 10 or 20 amps. If you are unfortunate enough to receive one, you may be unable to pull your finger out, in which case it can be lethal.
One of the two newly discovered electric eel species, Electrophorus varii (shown above), named is after the late Smithsonian ichthyologist Richard Vari and swims through murky, slow-flowing lowland waters. Credit: D. Bastos The electric eel, however, emits not a direct current but an alternating current (in pulses), and its charge is depleted after a strong shock.
Its electric organ takes some time to recharge. Even so, an encounter with a group of these animals in the water can be quite perilous. The shock will not kill a healthy person, but it can be hazardous if you have a weak heart. It can also contribute to a fall or drowning.
- The shock stuns the victim.
- It’s sufficiently strong to help the fish capture prey or scare off a predator,” Santana said.
- The research conducted by the group has shown that electric eels communicate to convene groups that can electrocute a potential threat.
- Contrary to what had been previously claimed in the scientific literature, these animals are not solitary and frequently associate in groups of up to ten during adulthood.
The new classification was based on an analysis of 107 specimens collected in different parts of the Amazon in Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana. Initially, the researchers used DNA barcoding to sequence the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI), the de facto standard for animal DNA barcoding.
- They then sequenced nine other mitochondrial and nuclear genes and performed several other analyses to validate the DNA barcoding results.
- Their body shape is highly conserved.
- It has not changed much during 10 million years of evolution.
- Only a few details of their external morphology distinguish them, and only an integrated analysis of morphology, genetics and ecology was able to make robust distinctions between the species,” Santana explained.
Ecological separation In addition to showing clear genetic differences, the sequencing data were cross-referenced with ecological data. The species that has kept the name E. electricus is confined to an area far north of Amazonia known to geologists as the Guiana Shield, encompassing the northern regions of three Brazilian states (Amapá, Amazonas and Roraima), and Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname.E.
Voltai inhabits the Brazilian Shield, which encompasses the south of Pará and Amazonas, as well as Rondônia and the north of Mato Grosso. Shield regions are relatively elevated, exceeding 300 meters in altitude. This particular one has rapids and falls, with clear well-oxygenated water, rocky or sandy bottoms, and low amounts of dissolved salts.
These characteristics favor both species, which have flat heads that helps them swim nimbly and hunt in fast-flowing water over stony riverbeds. Credit: Carlos David de Santana/Smithsonian The small amount of dissolved salts makes the water less electrically conductive.
- The researchers therefore believe the animals need to produce stronger discharges to capture prey.
- This is particularly the case for E.
- Voltai, which was found to produce the highest voltage ever recorded in an animal.
- In contrast, E.
- Varii inhabits the lowest part of the Amazon Basin, living in turbid rivers with relatively little oxygen and sandy or muddy bottoms.
In addition, a relatively large amount of dissolved salts increases the conductivity of the water, favoring the propagation of their electrical discharges, which in this species range from 151 volts to 572 volts. The researchers estimate that the species diverged twice.
- The first time was in the Miocene, approximately 7.1 million years ago, when they separated from their common ancestor.
- It was not until the Pliocene, approximately 3.6 million years ago, that E.
- Voltai and E.
- Electricus reached their present status.
- The researchers plan to conduct further genetic studies to verify the hypothesis that ecological separation (shield environment versus floodplain) was one of the factors that led E.
varii (floodplain) and E. electricus and E. voltai (shield) to diverge from their common ancestor. In addition, they continue to capture specimens to measure discharges and confirm the 860 volt record. They expect to find new species among other electric knifefish genera.
- The discovery of new electric eel species in Amazonia, one of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots, is suggestive of the vast amount of species that remain to be discovered in nature.
- Furthermore, the region is of great interest to other scientific fields, such as medicine and biotechnology, reinforcing the need to protect and conserve it, and is important for studies involving partnerships among Brazilian researchers, and between us and groups in other countries, to explore the region’s biodiversity,” Santana said.
Other groups are currently studying the possibility of using the results of research on electric eels to analyze the enzymes produced by their electric organs to determine their applicability in medication for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or as a model to develop batteries for prosthetics and sensors implanted in humans.
- More information: “Unexpected species diversity in electric eels with a description of the strongest living bioelectricity generator” Nature Communications (2019).
- DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11690-z, www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11690-z Citation : A new species of electric eel produces the highest voltage discharge of any known animal (2019, September 10) retrieved 10 May 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2019-09-species-electric-eel-highest-voltage.html This document is subject to copyright.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Why are electric eels blind?
3 – THAT a creature of flesh and blood could energize so much seemed fantastic. However, we soon learned that the eel was largely composed of a very special kind of flesh: electric tissue. All its vital organs — stomach, intestine, liver, and so forth — are confined to the front fifth of its body, and even its vent is located under the chin; the remainder of its elongate body is principally occupied by three pairs of electric organs.
- Measured by volume, nearly half of the fish is electric tissue.
- These organs are, in turn, made up of smaller units, which are separated by thin walls of electrically resistant tissue and act very similarly to cells in a storage battery.
- They are the producers of the electricity, each one creating about one tenth of a volt.
It is by hooking these tiny batteries together in series, so to speak, that the eel builds up its powerful discharge. Just how it does this, throwing thousands of “switches” on and off hundreds of times a second, we do not know. That is another of the mysteries of the electric eel.
The electric organs of the eel are in three pairs: the Large Organs, the Bundles of Sachs, and the Organs of Hunter. The Large Organs are apparently so called for want of a better name; the Bundles of Sachs were named for Dr. Carl Sachs, the naturalist and Amazon explorer, who devoted much time to the study of the eel in the 1870’s; the Organs of Hunter were first described by Dr.
John Hunter, the eighteenth-century anatomist. The first of these is functionally the most important, and begins at about one fifth of the length of the fish behind the snout, continuing unchanged to a point about twothirds the length of the fish behind the snout.
- From this place on, it tapers off and the resulting space is taken up by the Bundles of Sachs, which grow in size as the Large Organs diminish.
- The Bundles are responsible for the small discharges apparently used for locating food.
- The third pair of organs, those of Hunter, start at the same level as do the Large Organs and run to the end of the tail.
In cross-section these are very small and their discharge is irregular and appears to be a function of that of the Large Organs. In relation to the area of the whole crosssection of the fish at a point midway from head to tail the electric organs occupy about 55 per cent.
The appearance of electric tissue is different from any other. It is a flaccid whitish jelly and, by analysis, is composed of 92 per cent water. Another mystery of the electric eel is its sensitivity to electric currents. When I finally got the fourteen eels — the ones that had been spilled out of their hogshead on the steamer deck — into a tank at the Aquarium, I noticed that the fish were aware of each other’s discharges.
(This was apparently the first time anyone had made any observations on more than one eel at a time — at least anyone who cared to talk about it.) The natural food of electric eels consists of fishes and other small aquatic animals which they stun before swallowing whole.
Although they can be taught in captivity to eat cut-up raw fish and strips of beef, when first caught they will eat only live fish. While feeding these fourteen eels I discovered that when one fish discharged, stunning its prey, all the others in the tank came over, apparently to see what was going on, and they always went to the spot where the feeding eel had discharged, even if it had subsequently moved away.
Apparently, eels were not only aware of one another’s discharges but could nicely judge whence the current came. Later on, Professor Cox and I “electrolyzed” a tankful of eels by dropping an electrode at each end of their tank and passing a strong current through the water.
All the eels then gathered at the anode or positive pole. This was reasonable, because the head of a discharging eel is always positive in respect to the body behind it, and the head would be exactly where a hungry eel would want to go, when he sensed his brother eel shocking some prey. We now wanted to find out whether captive electric eels behaved like wild ones, since our researches were more or less based on the proposition that what the fish did in the Aquarium’s tanks and laboratory was “normal.” For this purpose Professor Cox established headquarters at the Goeldi Museum in Para at the mouth of the Amazon.2 What he found confirmed our supposition: eels in Brazil behaved no differently from those in New York.
However, he also discovered some electrical activity we hadn’t noticed before. When lying quietly on the bottom, only moving occasionally to come to the surface for a gulp of air, — the fish is an air-breather and drowns if kept under water, — electric eels give off no electricity at all, but while “cruising about” they emit a series of weak discharges having a voltage of the order of fifty and at a rate of about fifty per second.
- We first believed that these were warning discharges by which the eel kept potential enemies at a distance, and we were supported in this view by some observations on the eel’s closest relatives.
- These are fishes of the family of gymnotid eels of which the electric eel is a member — elongate fishes, not at all related to the true, edible eel, but rather to the infamous piranhas of South American rivers and the radiant neon tetras of tropical-fish fame.
Their popular name is knife fish, and a triangular carving knife, minus its handle, gives a good approximation of their body shape. None of these “cousins” to the electric eel has any electric powers, and all of them are more or less likely to have their long tails nipped off in the course of growing up.
- In fact, in some species it is almost impossible to find an intact specimen.
- Electric eels, on the other hand, almost never show such mutilations.
- Undoubtedly the electric eel’s discharges protect it, but the steady repetitions of minor discharges which it emits while swimming serve another purpose, quite as utilitarian.
We discovered this use by carefully observing the behavior of a lone eel. Adult electric eels are virtually blind, since they develop cataracts when quite young, undoubtedly as a consequence of either their own electric shocks or those of their fellows.
- Nevertheless, when a food fish was put into its tank, the lone eel unerringly made for it.
- That the eel could see through the clouded lenses of its eyes seemed unbelievable; yet to be positive that sight was not being utilized, we repeated the test in nearly total darkness.
- Not only did the eel easily find the food fish in the dark, but it could even distinguish between a dead floating food fish and a piece of floating wood of approximately the same size.
Was the eel using its weak discharges to locate the fish? We couldn’t stop the eel from broadcasting its current, so perhaps we could stop it from receiving that current back, and this we did. Arranged in definite patterns on both sides and the top of an electric eel’s head are series of prominent pits.
No such development is found in other gymnotids; therefore we thought these might in some way be associated with electric powers. We painted the head of our eel with an insulating lacquer, thus sealing off the pits from any possible electric impulses. Sure enough, that fish now failed to find any prey, living or dead, dropped into its tank, and simply swam aimlessly around.
If the food fish was placed on its lips, however, it would gulp the meal down; and when the lacquer was removed, the eel once again easily located its food. The details of this wonderfully acute eel “radar” have yet to be worked out; we believe it operates something like this.
- The minor discharges of the eel radiate out in all directions from the rear portion of its tail, the area in which they are produced.
- Whenever they come into contact with some solid object in the water, they are reflected back towards the sensory pits on the eel’s head.
- By turning its head and discharging again, the eel can so orient itself that both left and right sides receive the reflected pulses simultaneously.
Then it is pointed towards the reflecting object. When we realize that this locating of an object is done through a complex “background” of reflected impulses (from the walls of the tank, for example); that although the impulses travel at the speed of light, the eel can differentiate between differences of a few inches; and that the eel can make allowance for its own movement as well as that of living prey, the truly amazing character of this behavior is apparent.
How many volts can a human sustain?
This is a very common question, but the answer is not as clear as many people would hope. The amount of voltage it will take to kill a person will vary greatly based on many different factors, For example, it takes very little electricity to kill someone if it is applied directly to the heart.
In addition, it will take a lower number of volts to kill someone if it is a constant flow that is entering the body than if it were just one quick shock. Of course, it will also depend on the health of the person being shocked. Someone who is young and healthy will generally be able to survive an incident involving more voltage than someone who is already experiencing heart problems or is otherwise unhealthy.
Another thing that could impact the survive-ability of a shock at various voltages is whether it is from direct current or alternating current, Experiments have shown, for example, that AC electricity was as dangerous as DC, meaning all other things being equal, it would take about twice as many volts to kill someone with direct current as it would alternating.
A good rule of thumb is that when a shock is at or above 2,700 volts, it often results in death or severe injury. At over 11,000 volts, the victim will usually pass away. A good rule of thumb is that when a shock is at or above 2,700 volts, the person often dies or experiences severe injury. At over 11,000 volts, the victim will usually pass away.
All this being said, however, there have been situations where people tragically die when shocked with surprisingly low volts, and others where they survive amazingly high volts. There have been examples of someone dying when shocked with a supply of just 42 volts, which normally would not cause any problems.
- The highest voltage electrocution that has ever been survived, on the other hand (according to the Guinness Book of World Records) was 230,000 volts.
- He was paralyzed in the event and suffered burns over 40% of his body.
- With the understanding that there is no one size fits all answer to this question, it is important to focus on electrical safety regardless of the voltage involved.
Taking all precautions whenever working with electricity will help to avoid any shocks or electrocution, whether it is likely to result in death or not. A good electrical safety plan should include labeling wires, electrical panels, and other power outlets,
Did electric eels inspire batteries?
In fact, electric fishes inspired Volta to conduct the original research that ultimately led to his battery, and today’s battery scientists still look to these electrifying animals for ideas.
Is kraken a Leviathan?
Kraken/Leviathan by Dark Soul Kraken is a giant squid octopus like creature with unstoppable aggression, while Leviathan is Ridgeling seven headed monster famed for his spectacular size. But seas are unsafe with either of these monsters around. Nobody knows whether they are real or fictional but they are some of the angriest monsters that roam the oceans, at least according to the stories about them.5 Likes Vishal Baviskar and 4 others like this.3 Shares
Do eels have genders?
Identifying sex – In all species of freshwater eels, the females grow to a much larger size than males. Thus, any eel above the maximum size to which males grow must be a female. However, anything smaller than this could be either male or female.
In shortfins, males do not usually grow larger than 550 mm (about 350 g), so any eel larger than that is a female. In longfins, males grow to a maximum of 750 mm (about 1.25 kg), so larger eels are females.
Before their sex organs develop into either male or female tissue, they are termed “undifferentiated” – at this stage the gonad is very immature and it’s not obvious which sex an eel belongs to. The gonads become larger as the eel grows and by the time both sexes migrate for spawning, they are quite obvious (although sometimes the ovaries are mistaken as fat reserves).
- When identifying whether eels are males or females, the key feature to look for is whether the gonad has a distinct lobed or scalloped appearance, a little like a row of beads – if it does, the eel is male.
- If the gonad or is more like a ribbon of tissue of the same width, resembling a net curtain, the eel is female.
In an immature eel, the gonads can be rather difficult to find as they are only about 1 mm or less in width. The smallest eels identified in New Zealand as male were 27 cm for a shortfin and 30 cm a for longfin. The smallest females identified were 33 cm for a shortfin and 37 cm for a longfin.
Do eels get pregnant?
The females release their eggs, the males fertilise them, and the adults die after spawning. The eggs hatch into larvae that float to the surface and drift back towards New Zealand. They may take about 17 months to arrive. Larvae then change into glass eels – transparent juvenile eels.
Can electric eels reproduce?
The electric eel is a knifefish and is more closely related to catfish and carp than to other eel families. This electric fish can generate up to 800 volts of electricity!
Fact sheet Conservation
Physical Description The electric eel has a slender, snake-like body and flattened head. Its thick, scaleless skin is generally dark gray to brown, and its underside is a yellow-orange color. Similar to other eel shaped fish, the electric eel lacks pelvic fins.
- It has a small, or reduced, caudal fin and also lacks dorsal fins.
- Instead, an elongated anal fin helps it maneuver through the water, where it can swim forward, backward or hover, as it searches for prey.
- Three specialized electric organs—the main electrical organ, the Hunter’s organ and the Sachs’ organ—make up about 80 percent of this fish’s body.
Its remaining vital organs are tightly packed within the anterior, or front, part of its body. The electric organs create strong and weak electric charges, which are utilized for defense, hunting, communication and navigation. Stronger electric charges can be energetically exhausting for this fish.
Its strongest electric pulses are produced by the main electrical organ, as well as two-thirds of the Hunter’s organ. The remainder of the Hunter’s organ and the Sachs’ organ produce the weaker electric discharges. Size Electric eels grow to lengths of 6 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 meters). Native Habitat This species is widely distributed across northern South America.
Its range spans across Brazil, the Guianas, Suriname, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Electric eels inhabit the quiet, slow-moving waters of ox-bow lakes, streams, pools and flooded forests of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, preferring side channels but also living further inland.
Both of the rivers these fish inhabit are subject to a natural fluctuation of water driven by precipitation patterns, which results in two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The two seasons bring about drastic changes in available habitat for electric eels. During the rainy season, the rivers swell, re-connecting lakes and ponds as the forests flood.
Juvenile electric eels disperse and expand into new territories. As water recedes in the dry season, large groups of fish become isolated in the pools and smaller streams that remain. The water in these areas is poorly oxygenated, but electric eels are specially adapted to thrive in this environment.
- They are obligate air-breathers, which means they surface for air periodically.
- Their mouths are heavily vascularized with folds that increase the surface area, allowing them to breathe air, rather than trying to meet their respiration needs through gills in warm, anoxic waters.
- Throughout the dry season, the electric eel is also at greater risk from predators, such as large mammals, that hunt from outside the shallow waters it inhabits.
Because there is little space to retreat, the fish is often forced to defend itself. Water efficiently conducts electricity, providing a wide surface area for the electric eel’s shock to be applied. This means that an electric pulse delivered through the water may not be as painful for a large predator as one delivered outside of the water.
- As such, an electric eel can instead jump out of the water, sliding its body up against a partially submerged predator to directly target its shock.
- The eel then delivers its electric pulses in increasing voltages.
- Communication Electric eels communicate using low electric organ discharges.
- This electricity is produced in pulses, and the duration of a pulse is much shorter than the time that lapses between each pulse.
The frequency at which weaker electric pulses are produced varies between males and females, as well as across individuals. Electric eels can detect these signals and interpret information about other individuals in the water. They can even convey information about their sex and sexual receptivity, which is important during the breeding season.
- Electric eels are not the only fish to communicate using electric organ discharges.
- More than 220 species of South American knifefish in the electric eel’s lineage use this highly advanced method of communication and detection.
- Food/Eating Habits Adult electric eels are generalist carnivores, eating fish, crustaceans, insects and small vertebrates, such as amphibians, reptiles and mammals.
Juveniles feed primarily on invertebrates, and newly hatched electric eels will eat remaining, unhatched eggs. In addition to defense, electric eels use their shocking power to hunt. In the dark and murky waters they inhabit, prey can be difficult to spot.
To aid its hunt, the electric eel has motion-sensitive hairs along its body (the lateral line system) that detect any slight pressure change in the surrounding water. When the eel suspects a prey item is nearby, it emits two rapid electric pulses, called a doublet. This doublet affects the muscles of the prey, causing it to twitch involuntarily and alerting the electric eel to its presence.
With a series of high-voltage pulses (as many as 400 per second), it then paralyzes and consumes its prey. This entire process happens so quickly that it can be difficult for the human eye to observe in detail. Reproduction and Development Female electric eels lay between 1,200 and 1,700 eggs during the dry season.
Males construct nests made of saliva and guard the larvae until the rainy season begins. This parental care may be the result of increased food competition and potential for predation during the dry season. More research on the reproductive cycle and behavior of electric eels is needed to determine exactly how spawning takes place.
Some researchers posit that spawning occurs in successive batches throughout the dry season, while other accounts document that all eggs are deposited at once. Lifespan The average lifespan of electric eels in the wild is still unknown. In human care, males typically live 10 to 15 years, and females generally live 12 to 22 years.
Organize or attend a stream, river, lake or other waterway cleanup in your area to preserve aquatic habitats for local species. Share the story of this animal with others. Simply raising awareness about this species can contribute to its overall protection.
How many volts is an eel?
Overview – Electrophorus electricus—everything about this fish’s scientific name says high voltage! So, it’s no surprise that of the fishes able to generate an electrical discharge, electric eels are the champions, producing up to 600 volts. Electric eels live in muddy waters.
Mostly blind, they rely on low-level electrical pulses to navigate and explore their surroundings. Higher levels of voltage are generated to stun or kill prey and to protect them from predators. Though commonly referred to as an eel, this fish is not considered a “true” eel. While true eels are classified in the order Anguilliformes, the electric eel is actually in the order Gymnotiformes, the knife fishes.
Knife fishes have no dorsal fin and a long, extended anal fin. Although not true eels, these nearly scaleless fish look the part with long, cylindrical bodies and a slightly flattened head. The electric eel’s anal fin extends from the tip of the tail nearly to the chin.
What is the electric eel closest relative?
Electric Discharge – These famous freshwater predators get their name from the enormous electrical charge they can generate to stun prey and dissuade predators. Their bodies contain electric organs with about 6,000 specialized cells called electrocytes that store power like tiny batteries. When threatened or attacking prey, these cells will discharge simultaneously.
When did they name the electric eel?
Two new species of electric eel come as a shock to biologists Electrophorus voltai is one of the two newly discovered electric eel species L. Sousa An investigation into the diversity of electric eels has produced quite a shock. Rather than just one, there are actually three species of electric eels living in South America, and one of them generates a bigger voltage than any other bioelectric animal.
Electric eels were first described 250 years ago by, who gave them the species name Electrophorus electricus, They use their shocking power to, while weaker electrical signals help them to navigate and communicate. at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, and colleagues studied 107 specimens from across the Amazon region, analysing their, morphology and geographical spread.
They discovered that there are three species with different distributions: the original species E. electricus in the northern highlands, E. voltai in the southern highlands and E. varii in the lowland Amazon basin.E. voltai is the largest, growing up to 1.7 metres long compared with 1.0 metres for the shortest, E.
- The researchers measured the electric discharge generated by E.
- Voltai at 860 volts – considerably higher than the 650 volts reported before.
- This makes it the strongest living bioelectricity generator we know of.
- These eels live in water with few dissolved minerals, meaning it has low conductivity, which might be why such a large voltage is necessary.
A shock of this size would be unlikely to kill a human, but it would cause muscle contractions and a painful numbing sensation, says de Santana. “It’s like the effect of a law enforcement Taser.” E. electricus and E. voltai have a flatter head than E. varii, which may be better adapted to highland environments, with fast-flowing water and rocky or sandy bottoms.
- The species also differ in the number of pores in their lateral lines – a system of sense organs on the side of the body.
- Genetic analysis suggests that the E.
- Varii lineage diverged from the other two species around 7.1 million years ago, with E.
- Electricus and E.
- Voltai splitting around 3.6 million years ago.
Electric eels provided Alessandro Volta with inspiration for the first electric battery in 1800, and more recently inspired a, If we don’t know about the diversity of species alive today, we risk losing knowledge that could be valuable to us, says de Santana.
What is the electric eel in mythology?
Abaia is a huge, magical eel in Melanesian mythology.
How did the eels get their name?
Name and emblem – Like most NSWRFL clubs founded before the 1980s, Parramatta was established with no official nickname or mascot. The only nickname Parramatta had ever been known by was the “Fruitpickers”, a reference to the orchards spread throughout the District and surrounding suburbs in the first half of the 20th century.
- As the competition and the clubs themselves became more focused on marketing in the 1970s, Parramatta adopted an official club mascot.
- In the mid-1960s, Peter Frilingos, a Sydney rugby league journalist, suggested that the club should be known as the ” Eels “.
- This reasoning was based on the name of the Parramatta, anglicised from the Aboriginal dialect “Barramattagal” meaning “place where the Eels dwell”.
After this, the team was commonly called “The Eels” and it became an official nickname in the late 1970s. As a result, the club’s crest was changed in 1980, to a design featuring an eel. This crest remained, despite several changes in jersey design, until a new eel logo was introduced in 2000.
In 2004, the club mascot featured on the crest reverted to an eel drawing similar to that featured on the original crest. Parramatta has also used two separate crests based on Parramatta City ‘s crest. The first was a highly detailed scene showing a typical scene on the foreshore of the Parramatta River in the early days of European settlement.
It is an apparent tribute to the District’s original occupants, the Barramattagal tribe. In the foreground of the original crest, a male Aboriginal is preparing to spear a fish while a woman in a canoe watches. In the background a paddle steamer is visible as well as the tree-lined banks of the Parramatta River.
What are the electric eels in Little Mermaid called?
Flotsam and Jetsam –
|Flotsam and Jetsam|
|First appearance||The Little Mermaid (1989)|
|Created by||Hans Christian Andersen (original story) Ron Clements & John Musker (film adaptation)|
|Voiced by||Paddi Edwards (original) Corey Burton ( Kingdom Hearts series and Disney parks)|
Flotsam and Jetsam are Ursula’s green moray eel minions, voiced by Paddi Edwards in the 1989 film. They do Ursula’s bidding and act as her spies, keeping their eye on the events unfolding in and around Atlantica. They are tasked with following Ariel and reporting her actions back to Ursula.
- They eventually manipulate Ariel into visiting Ursula to attain human legs.
- They are ultimately killed by Ursula inadvertently in the film’s climax, and Ursula subsequently mourns for them.
- Flotsam and Jetsam appear in the prequel television series alongside Ursula.
- They also appear in the Broadway stage musical, where the roles were originated by Tyler Maynard and Derrick Baskin,
The eels also appear as puppets in The Little Mermaid Live!,