electric fish


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Related to electric fish: electric eel, electric catfish

electric fish,

name for various fish that produce electricity by means of organs usually developed from modified muscle tissue. The electric eel (Electrophorus electricus), a South American freshwater knifefish unrelated to the eeleel,
common name for any fish in the order Anguilliformes, and characterized by a long snakelike body covered with minute scales embedded in the skin. Eels lack the hind pair of fins, adapting them for wriggling in the mud and through the crevices of reefs and rocky shores.
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, has organs along the ventral surface capable of producing from 450 to 600 volts of electricity—enough to light a neon bulb. Other electric fish include the electric rayray,
extremely flat-bodied cartilaginous marine fish, related to the shark. The pectoral fins of most rays are developed into broad, flat, winglike appendages, attached all along the sides of the head; the animal swims by rippling movements of these wings.
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, or torpedo; a freshwater electric catfishcatfish,
common name applied to members of the fish families constituting the order Siluriformes, found in fresh and coastal waters. Catfish are named for the barbels ("whiskers") around their mouths and have scaleless skins, fleshy, rayless posterior fins, and sharp defensive
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 with a jellylike subcutaneous electric organ (probably of epidermal origin) that extends over the whole body; and various species of stargazerstargazer,
common name for any of several species of marine fishes of the family Uranoscopidae, found in southern waters, and having the mouth, nostrils, and eyes set high in the head. Stargazers lie buried in the sand, waiting for their prey of small crustaceans.
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. All these fish produce electricity at will to paralyze or kill their prey, to repel their enemies, and to aid in navigation. Recent experiments have shown that when an electric eel is in motion it generates pulses of low-energy electricity which serve to detect the presence of nearby objects. Scientists believe that electric organs in fishes may function also in communication between individuals. Electric eels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Gymnotiformes, family Gymnotidae.

electric fish

[i¦lek·trik ′fish]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several fishes capable of producing electric discharges from an electric organ.
References in periodicals archive ?
Mate preference in female electric fish, Brachyhypopomus pinnicaudatus.
Behavioral actions of androgens receptor expression in the electrocommunication system of an electric fish, Eigenmannia virescens.
There were three each of the electric fish and the eyeless fish, swimming in the clear bags.
The other cave fish hovered near the bottom, below the electric fish circling the tank.
Weakly electric fish, as they are called, also use electric signals to recognize and attract potential mates.
With each haul, long-hidden inhabitants of the Amazon, the largest tropical river system on Earth, are coming to light, including oddities like transparent catfish and electric fish that subsist solely on the tails of other electric fish.
What they have uncovered at the greatest depths is a murky, nearly lightless world inhabited by a proliferation of two kinds of creatures: electric fish and catfish.
The African electric fish Gymnarchus generates electric organ discharges at an individually fixed frequency for electrolocation.
This hint that UV signaling imposes demands on the fish interests Philip Stoddard of Florida International University in Miami, who studies courtship signals of electric fish and how predators eavesdrop on them (SN: 7/17/99, p.
Plasticity of electroreceptor tuning in the weakly electric fish Sternopygus dariensis.
As compared to electric eels, which deliver 500-volt zaps, elephant nose fish can't muster more than 1 volt and are thus called weakly electric fish.
The risk of getting killed often has a dampening effect on the silly excesses of courtship, but the opposite may have been true in electric fish.