The Electric Eel
The electric eel, known for its ability to generate an electric current, looks somewhat like other eels but has different habits and is therefore not considered a true eel. It is a spineless, toothless fish that grows up to three feet (2.7 m) long. It is found in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers of South America. The electric eel's vital organs (brain, heart, digestive system) are near the front of its body. The rest of the body contains a platelike arrangement of organs that produce electrical current by a chemical reaction. The electric eel can produce a current of up to 650 volts—enough to severely shock a human. The eel uses this current to stun or kill the smaller fish it eats, and to defend itself against enemies.The electric eel produces a current of up to 650 volts.
You might be shocked to find out that, despite its name and looks, an electric eel is not an eel at all! It belongs to a family of bony fish known as knifefish. Even though it’s not an eel, an electric eel’s name isn’t all wrong. An electric eel produces electric charges powerful enough to stun a person or kill a small fish.
An electric eel has three pairs of electric organs on each side of its body. Each organ has thousands of muscle cells. The cells give off small bursts of electricity after a nerve sets them off. Each burst lasts about 1/500 of a second. It is short but powerful!
Electric eels live in muddy rivers in South America. They grow to 8 feet (2.4 meters) long.
The American eel is Anguilla rostrata; the European eel, A. anguilla. Both belong to the family Anguillidae. Conger eels belong to the family Congridae, moray eels to the family Muraenidae. The electric eel is Electrophorus electricus; it is the only member of the family Electrophoridae.