What are electric fish?« Back to Questions List

Some varieties of fish have been using electricity for millions of years to protect themselves, attract their prey and find their way through turbid water. You might be surprised to know that there are over 500 kinds of  electric fish that can produce some significant amount of electricity.


Electric fish generate electricity in modified muscle tissue and are immune to their own shocks because of insulating layers of fat. Among the electric fish are electric eels, the most famous kind. They can discharge around 350 to 650 volts of electricity. Some electric eels are 8 feet long and weigh around 100 pounds with their electric organs accounting for half their weight.


electric fish

Electric Eel


The head acts as the positive pole and the tail as the negative pole of the battery. When it is moving it can emit electric impulses up to 25 times per second. A 20-feet eel can produce enough electrical current to light 12 household light bulbs. Electric eels are mainly found in the Amazons. Some bony fish and sharks have special pores on their heads that allow them to detect electrical currents. This extra sense helps them to navigate or find prey in dark or muddy water.



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