In other words, only 20 percent of an eel is devoted to its vital organs. Here are a few simple experiments you can try with the help of an adult friend or family member: +. The female lays her eggs in a nest the male constructs from his saliva. Always keep WONDERing! Human deaths from electric eels are extremely rare. We don't think you'll find any living in the waters of North America. Faster than you can blink your eyes, an electric eel can produce a shock great enough to stun and eat fish! There is also a brutal video out there of a black caiman biting onto an electric eel and being shocked to death. But to get to the meat of electric eels – yes, they do produce electricity. And my parents in law and they trapped some eels and they even got to hold them, how is that? Electric eels come by their name for good reason — depending on the species, they can release an electric shock of up to 860 volts. :-), Hi, Dexter! We love when we're learning and having FUN at the same time! :), Hey, Westley! Tell them why their creatures aren't as scary. Like many other members of this order, electric eels use electricity for sensing prey by creating weak electric fields and then sensing distortions in that field. We're THRILLED you liked this Wonder and enjoy visiting Wonderopolis. When threatened, electric eels can produce intermittent electric shocks for at least an hour without showing any signs of getting tired. Why or why not? The electric eel has an elongated, cylindrical body, typically growing to about 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in length, and 20 kg (44 lb) in weight, making them the largest species of the Gymnotiformes. When the electric eel senses prey or feels threatened by a predator, electrocytes create an electrical current that can release up to 600 volts (if you are unlucky enough to be shocked by 600 volts, it won’t kill you on its own, but it will hurt). We are interested in hearing what you find out! We don't currently have a Wonder about that. :), Thanks for being a supportive WONDER friend, Joe Bob! Like the stacked plates of a battery, the stacked electric cells can generate an electrical shock of 500 volts and 1 ampere. In fact, electric eels are not actually eels at all. Electric eels have three sets of internal organs that produce electricity. Although it has an elongated body like an eel, the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) is actually a type of knifefish. The critters are native to South American rivers, but they don’t spend all their time underwater. We hope you're having a WONDERful day! At present, the electric eel is the only species in its genus. I mean electric eels just in my experience do not jump out of the water. Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and for letting us know you learned something new from this Wonder of the Day! ), the outside limit or top layer of something, happening or arising or located within some limits or especially surface, a container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power, protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost, the rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit; expressed in volts, take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological process, knock unconscious or into a semi-conscious state, an animal that is hunted and killed by another for food, differ in size, amount, degree, or nature from something else of the same general class. When the channels are open, sodium ions flow through, reversing the polarity of the cells and producing an electric current in much the same way a battery works. With just a few simple supplies, you can learn firsthand about electricity. The Main organ and Hunter's organ consist of about 5000 to 6000 specialized cells called electrocytes or electroplaques that act like tiny batteries, all discharging at once. :-), Hi, Shay Haas! Electric eels do endanger themselves by generating electricity. In March of 1800 the famous European naturalist Alexander von Humbolt decided he wanted some electric eels … They electrocute other nearby electric eels, not in a fight but by accident. Each electrocyte only generates 0.15 volts, but in concert, the cells can produce a shock up to 1 ampere of electrical current and 860 watts for two milliseconds. Smaller fish deliver less current, which produces a tingle rather than a shock. You see, when electric eels are in the water, their shock is not very effective against land-based predators. Also that they are related to catfish. Electric eels are some of the most feared creatures because of their shock, but how does their electric shock work and how much damage does it do? Electric Eels By Lydia Lukidis Did you know that electric eels have quite a misleading name? One of the new eel species is capable of generating a shock of as much as 860 volts, the most powerful electrical discharge ever discovered in any known animal. They are not related, but did not know there is an eel-tailed catfish? That's why we WONDER so much! :), Thanks for being a supportive WONDER friend and joining the discussion, Dylan! When electric eels emit electricity, their shock dissipates around them, and it loses its damaging potential. Electrophorus voltai (pictured), one of the two newly discovered electric eel species, produces an 860 volt shock, the highest charge of any known animal in … How often do you change the backround? Electric eels do endanger themselves by generating electricity. Whether the shock of an electric eel is fatal also may depend on the size of the eel, which, by the way, isn't actually an eel at all. Unfortunately, electric eels are not even eels; they are actually knifefish. I bet that tomorrow's wonder will be about clocks! It's just not something that you see. They're a specific kind of knifefish that lives mainly in bodies of fresh water in South America, such as the Amazon River. In captivity, they may live 22 years. The name for fish-eating species is picivorous. (And maybe how they work. How would you feel if you were an electric eel? Bye. Electric eels – actually a type of knifefish, not true eels – are notorious for being able to produce a hefty electric shock of up to around 600V. 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