The Electric Eel is a most unusual species of fish. Also, this unique animal is the only species within its genus.
Despite the name, the Electric Eel is not a true eel and is actually a variety of knife fish.
Further, the animal has the unique ability to generate (strong) electric currents, and discharge them at will. In fact, these discharges may be as powerful as 600 volts. These it uses for a variety of reasons such as communication with other eels, self-defense, and hunting.
Within its territorial range, this is a true apex predator.
Electric Eel Anatomical and Physiological Distinctiveness
This animal possesses a highly elongated shape. Mature individuals average a body length of roughly 6.5 ft (2 m) and an average weight of about 44 lb (20 kg). In addition, their coloring is typically a grayish brown on top, and orange or yellow on the underside.
They do not possess scales and are entirely air-breathing fish and must return to the surface every 10-12 minutes to breathe.
The electricity-generating organs of their body occupy about 80% of their body length. Also, the Electric Eel is capable of varying the intensity of the electric discharge which allows them to use the current for various purposes.
Electric Eel Ecological Patterns
This eel lives only in regions of the Amazon Basin and the Orinoco Basin, in South America. Specific areas of habitation include swamps, floodplains, small rivers and creeks, and coastal plains. Further, they generally prefer areas of stagnant water or muddy bottoms.
The primary prey is a variety of invertebrates, other fish, and even small mammals unfortunate to come within reach.
The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with the males being typically less than half the size of the female.
After mating, the male will construct a nest, into which the female will lay as many as 3,000 eggs.