There are several kinds of fishes which are able to generate electricity strong enough to light a small bulb or even to run an electric motor.
Perhaps the best known are the Electric Rays or Torpedoes of which several kinds are found in the warm seas. It spends most of its time lying hidden on the sea-bed. The Electric Ray is able to give an electric shock by means of special organs behind the head on each side. The shock can stun the fishes on which Torpedo feeds and may knock a man down if he steps on it in water. The electricity produced by a young fish will light a pocket lamp, while that of a grownup fish is strong enough to run a small electric motor.
Another well-known electric fish is the Electric Eel found in the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America. It has a long eel-like body and may grow to eight feet in length, and the electric organs are on each side of the long tail (XBOCT). Its shock can paralyse a horse and man riding through the water.
These electric organs are found in several other fishes. The Electric Catfish (COM) of African lakes and rivers, among them the Nile, gives out its electricity from the organs, lying under the skin. The Electric Catfish is fat, slow and lazy. It grows to about three feet long and is sometimes eaten by Arabs.
The power for producing electricity may serve these fishes both for defence and attack. If a large enemy attacks them, it will get a shock that will drive it away, but the Catfish uses electricity most often against smaller fishes paralysing them.
No electric fishes can keep on giving shocks, for they soon become exhausted and have to rest before they can produce electricity again.
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