Electric Fishes

  • Laith A. Jawad


Electric rays of the members of the families Torpedinidae and Narkidae are unique in having two large, kidney-shaped electric organs in the disc on either side of the head. These organs are capable of generating strong electric shocks which are administered at will. The powerful electric organs derive from branchial muscles. The presence of electric organs requires a good conducting medium; it is thus not surprising to find such adaptations only among aqueous organisms. Electric fishes use electric organs to produce electricity for the purposes of communication, navigation, and, in extreme cases, predation and defence.

The electric organs are specialised structures which generate an electric field in the animals’ external environment, where in some the voltages are large enough to stun prey or repel predators. Those weak electric fishes use this power as an energy source and not for offensive or defensive purposes.

In the east and southern coasts of the Arabian peninsula, there are a number of electric rays considered dangerous to humans using the sea for different purposes. In this chapter an account is given of these fishes which includes identification, distribution, habitat, biology, economic value, and conservation status. Also a description of the anatomy and the action of the electric organs is provided.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laith A. Jawad
    • 1
  1. 1.ManukauNew Zealand

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