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Fear of electric eel

Fear of electric eel (Picture 1)

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The electric eel belongs to the eel-shaped South American fish of the naked-back electric eel family. The electric eel can generate enough current to stun people. It is the freshwater fish with the strongest discharge ability. The output voltage can reach 300-800 volts. Therefore, the electric eel is called the "high-voltage line" in the water. It is not a real eel, it is closer to catfish in biological classification. The electric eel was selected as one of the "most frightening freshwater animals on earth" listed on the website of the US "National Geographic" magazine. There are dozens of fishes known to generate electricity in the world, and other fish that can discharge electricity include electric catfish and electric rays. Within 3 to 6 meters of the water, people often touch the electricity released by the electric eel and get stunned, or even fall into the water and drown.

Electric eels are mainly distributed in Guyana in the Amazon basin of South America. They mostly live in shallow ponds or on the shores with turbid water bodies. They are large in size and are famous food fishes of origin. Its superb electric discharge ability makes it a very famous fish, which can be used as a display fish or ornamental fish in an aquarium. Electric eels are sluggish and live in slow-flowing freshwater bodies. They float to the surface from time to time, swallow air, and breathe. The body length can reach 2.5 meters and the weight can reach 20 kilograms. The overall cylindrical shape has a smooth and scaly surface with a black back and orange-yellow abdomen. The dorsal and caudal fins are degenerate, but they occupy nearly 4/5 of the total length of the tail. There is a long anal fin at the lower edge, which swims by the flip of the anal fin. The tail has a generator, which is derived from muscle tissue and is innervated by spinal nerves.

Although the electric eel is called "eel", it is not a kind of eel. It is closer to catfish in biological classification, and it is placed under the head bone swim bladder. The discharge capacity of the electric eel comes from the discharge body composed of its specialized muscle tissue. Almost all muscle tissue can discharge, accounting for more than 80% of its body length, and there are thousands of discharge bodies. The head of the electric eel is negative and the tail is positive. Each discharge body can produce a voltage of about 0.15 volts. When thousands of discharge bodies are discharged together, the voltage is as high as 600-800 volts, but this high voltage is only It can be maintained for a very short time, and the discharge capacity will decrease with the degree of fatigue or aging. Electric eels can freely control how much power they want to release. It is generally believed that the purpose of low power releases from electric eels is to warn, test, or detect.

Electric eels can discharge at will, and they control the time and intensity of discharge. The main hub of the generator is the nerve part of the organ. The average voltage during electric eel discharge is more than 350 volts, but there are also discharge records of over 650 volts. The maximum voltage of the American electric eel is more than 800 volts. Such a strong voltage is enough to kill a cow. The electric current generated by electric eel discharge is very weak, generally less than 1 ampere; sometimes the observed voltage is 500 volts and the current is 2 amperes, that is, a short-term discharge with a power of 1000 watts. Although it emits direct current, the discharge frequency can reach 300 pulses per second. The damage force of the discharge depends on the size of the eel and the condition of the body. When the electric eel is less than 1 meter long, the voltage increases as the electric eel grows. When it grows to 1 meter, it only increases the intensity of the current. The electric eel can discharge 50 times per second, but after continuous discharge, the current gradually weakens and disappears completely after 10 to 15 seconds, and the discharge capacity can be restored again after a short rest.

Electric eels often prey at night. The food includes small fish, crabs, shrimps, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. They also eat the corrupted carcasses of animals. In some individuals, higher plant debris is found in the food. When the electric eel preys, it first swims close to the fish school quietly, and then continuously discharges an electric current. The fish that received the electric shock fainted immediately and their body became stiff, so the electric eel took the opportunity to swallow them. The feeding intensity and growth rate of electric eels increase with the increase of water temperature, and generally the highest in spring and summer. Electric eel discharge is sometimes not necessarily for predation, but it may also be a physiological need. Fish that are electrocuted by electric eels often exceed the amount they need to eat, which brings harm to fishery production. After the indigenous people of South America use electric eels to discharge continuously, they need a period of rest and replenishing abundant food to restore the original characteristics of the discharge intensity. Continuously discharge, when the electric eel is exhausted after discharge, it will be directly caught.

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