Every creature on Earth is capable of producing electricity. However, this biologically produced electricity occurs in varying levels and is typically used up to complete biological functions. In other words, it cannot be stored and emitted. That is not the case with a few creatures. Some animals are able to store and emit the electricity produced by their bodies. With these electrical emissions, these animals can shock predators and prey or scare humans away with a jolt that can be mind jarring.
Electric rays are flattish, roundish saltwater creatures. They are also known as torpedo rays. Electric rays can weigh more than 200 pounds and be up to six feet long.
Electric rays store electricity in two organs. When necessary for hunting and self-defense, the rays deliver a jolt of electricity from these two organs. The most powerful shock they are capable of delivering is about 220 volts. Historically, this jolt of electricity has been used as a pain reliever.
Star Gazers are fish that can be found around the world. They have interesting facial features. Their eyes are located atop the head and the mouth opening is in front of the eyes, facing up. Inside the mouth is a fleshy appendage used to lure fish into their mouths whilst star gazers hide in the sand.
Like the electric ray, the shock from star gazers comes from electricity-storing organs. However, the shock is slight overkill. Star Gazers hunt in hiding and trick their prey directly into their jaws. There is little reason to deliver a shock, though they may, like other electricity-emitting animals, use it for navigation purposes.
Electric catfish are simply catfish that can store and emit electricity. They are found in freshwater in Africa. Like electric eels, electric catfish use their electricity to hunt, defend and for navigation.
The electric catfish has a single organ that allows for shocking. The organ is located beneath the skin and envelops nearly the entire fish. When needed, the organ emits up to 350 volts of electricity. This is often followed by several lesser shocks.
Electric eels are not actually eels. Taxonomically speaking, they are more like carp or catfish. Electric eels live in ponds and streams in South America. The largest specimens are more than 8 feet long.
Electric eels are the most powerful of the electricity-emitting animals. They can deliver a jolt of up to 600 volts. This poses minimal danger to humans, but can exacerbate or create heart problems and has been known to cause drowning. This amazing amount of electricity is stored in roughly 6,000 cells in the electric eel’s body.
Many other animals emit electricity. However, most of them give off weak levels of electricity compared to the above shockers. While they pose little danger to humans, children and people with heart conditions should avoid these animals, lest they be mistaken for predators.
Electric Catfish, retrieved 5/17/11, members.fortunecity.com/anemau/catfish.htm
Star Gazer, retrieved 5/17/11, users.totalise.co.uk/~darrenbarton/id65.htm
National Geographic, Electric Eel, retrieved 5/17/11, animals.nationalgeographic.com.animals/fish/electric-eel
Sea World, Electric Rays, retrieved 5/17/11, seaworld.org/animal-info/animal-bytes/animalia/eumetazoa/coelomates/deuterostomes/chordata/craniata/chondrichthyes/batoidea/torpediniformes/electric-rays.htm