The depths of the seas and oceans are home to many amazing creatures, among them the stingray and the eel. These creatures are famous for using electricity to protect and hunt. However, most people can’t imagine how a living organism can act as a powerful battery. So, How do Electric Rays produce electricity?
Which fish produce electricity?
Right away, as an interesting fact, it is worth noting that all fish produce electricity, just 99% of species generate very weak charges that are not perceptible in interaction. Sea creatures are able to generate electricity thanks to a special muscle structure that generates and stores electricity.
Some species, in the process of evolution, have learned to accumulate large charges and hit the enemy with them. Stingrays, eels, stargazers, gymnarchs and a certain species of catfish are the most successful in this activity.
How do Fish produce electricity?
All kinds of electric sea creatures generate electricity as they move. Because their muscles are constantly changing shape and interacting with their surroundings, they accumulate electricity. In doing so, the head and tail act as a plus and minus, respectively. This helps to hold the charge in the muscle as if it were a battery.
Let’s take a closer look at what the charge-accumulating muscles are. They may differ in appearance in each species of fish, but they have a similar structure. The muscles consist of columns, which, in turn, are divided into plates. To accumulate electricity, the columns are connected in parallel and the plates in series. There is a potential difference between them, which causes energy to accumulate when you move, and a charge to build up.
How do fishes get shocked?
An electric shock is carried out with the help of impulses. The fish purposefully hits the victim with these pulses. Some species deliberately emit about 500 pulses into the victim in order to finally hit the adversary. Accordingly, the strikes are deliberate and directed, you can not get a charge just by touching the fish.
In most cases, use their “weapon” fish only in direct contact with the victim. In certain situations, can let the current at short distances to drive away a larger predator.
In the above fish, the potential difference developed at the ends of the electrical organs can reach 1200 volts (electric eel), and the power of discharge in a pulse from 1 to 6 kilowatts (electric stingray Torpedo nobiliana).
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Сan electric eels kill you?
Even a weak charge at such parameters can seriously damage human health, especially at depth. There have been cases where discarded fish have literally knocked people to the ground on contact, causing an urgent need for medical intervention.
The Electric Ray
This type of creature is famous not only for its ability to generate electricity, but also for its flattened shape, resembling a small towel. They live mostly at the bottom of the oceans and reach up to 180 cm in length.
Electric energy rays accumulate throughout the body by contracting muscles. Even juvenile specimens are able to shock with a voltage of 8V or more. This helps to hunt and immobilize small fish. The properties of stingrays were known as far back as Ancient Egypt. Local doctors used light electric shocks on young specimens for medical purposes. It was believed that small discharges helped humans get rid of diseases.
All fish are capable of generating electricity, but only rays, eels and a few other species can accumulate it in large quantities. This is possible because of a certain structure of muscles that can accumulate current when they move.