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Amazon Shocker Facts

Amazon Shocker

Amazon Shocker (View larger version)

Photography by NGT / Colm Whelan

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  • An electric eel is only called an eel because of its appearance. It is actually not an eel and is more related to a catfish family.

  • There are about 6,000 electrocytes, a special type of cell, in an electric eel’s body. Each electrocyte stores electric power like many small batteries.

  • Many studies show that electric eels can discharge at least 600 volts of electricity from their electric organs, but a monster-sized electric eel Zeb found in Brazil emitted up to 860 volts of electricity.

  • Electric eels will eat amphibians, birds and small mammals, but fish are their main source of food.

  • Electric eels are native to South America and found mostly in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of South America.

  • Electric eels are air-breathers and must come to the surface for air frequently.

  • Electric eels use low-level electric fields to navigate their way around and compensate for its poor eyesight.

  • Electric eels use low-level electric fields to navigate their way around and compensate for its poor eyesight.

  • Electric eels can grow longer than eight feet in length and weigh over 40 pounds.

  • Human deaths caused by electric eels are extremely rare; however, repeated shocks from an electric eel can cause severe injuries to humans or large animals.

  • Electric eels typically live between 10 to 22 years in captivity.

  • The organs which produce an electric eel’s charge are located at the rear part of its body and take up most of the length of the whole fish.

  • Electric eels are toothless fish and they need to swallow their prey whole.

  • There are two kinds of electricity discharged from an electric eel. The strong shock is for stunning prey and the weak one is for communication and navigating.

  • Electric Eels are not the only fish that produce electricity. Over 200 species in South America use electricity to communicate and navigate.

  • The Amazon rainforest is often called the ‘Lungs of the planet’ -- it produces about 20% of the earth’s oxygen.

  • The Amazon river is the largest river system in the world, over 4,000 miles long.

  • A team of researchers at Northwestern University is developing autonomous underwater vehicles that simulate the way electric fish navigate in water, using their electric sense instead of vision. The underwater vehicles will be able to move around underwater in complete darkness.

  • Music can be created by different frequencies given out by different electric fish species.

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