Animal World

Fish, Amphibians, and Reptiles

How much electricity does an electric eel generate?

An electric eel (Electrophorus electricus) has current-producing organs made up of electric plates on both sides of its vertebral column running almost its entire body length. The charge—on the average of 350 volts, but as great as 550 volts—is released by the central nervous system. The shock consists of four to eight separate charges, which last only two- to three-thousandths of a second each. These shocks, used as a defense mechanism, can be repeated up to 150 times per hour without any visible fatigue to the eel. The most powerful electric eel, found in the rivers of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru, produces a shock of 400 to 650 volts.


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