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Interesting Facts About Electric Eel and Its Amazing Ability to Produce Current

By Cody Subscribe to RSS | January 10th 2012 | Views:
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An Eel is a snake-like elongated fish with its length normally ranging from 5cms to 4metres. Although they look similar to the snakes, they don't belong to the family of snakes and don't have scales on their body. The smallest in length are the one-jawed eels while the giant morays are amongst the biggest species of the eels. There are 819 species of eels in the world. Eels can weigh from a meager 30 gram to over 25 kilograms. Some of the most popular species of eels are Moray eels, Conger eels, American eels, and European eels. Eels can survive in both freshwater and saltwater. They have an amazingly flexible body and can swim both forwards and backwards with ease.

Electric Eel

Although an electric eel may look like an eel, it is not really one; it is rather considered to be a knife fish. Electric eels are spotted in the Amazon rainforests in the rivers of Columbia, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela. The eels can grow up to a length of 2 metres and can weigh up as much as 20 kilograms. Although an electric eel has gills (like the fish), it is a frequent air-breather and comes to the top very often to gulp some air. Fishes, crabs, birds, and amphibians are among the most common preys of the electric eels. As we all know, electric eels have the ability to generate high-magnitude current. It has the ability to both produce electric fields and detect any foreign electric fields. Thus they are electro receptive in nature.

How many volts of electricity can they produce? Well, studies and researches have shown that they are capable of generating electricity of up to 600 volts. Unbelievable for a fish, isn't it? Just compare this with the power sockets in the US that carry 110 volts. As we had studied in our school days, power=current*voltage, the eels can also produce 600 watts of power. So, they can even light up almost all the lamps in our household. The electric eel uses its electric abilities to pin down its prey and that is the reason why most predators stay away from them. An electric eel has over 6000 electro plaques stacked on its body. It also has the ability to adjust its electric fields. For instance, it generates low voltage when it navigates, detects objects or when communicating with its group mates; generates high voltage to counter its preys and predators.

Just as we get to know how dangerous these eels can be one TV show that I reached sometime back comes to my mind. Not too long ago, I watched a show named Fear Factor on my cable powered by Verizon FiOS TV in which the contestants were challenged with a whooping reward prize of $50,000. The task was to transfer a bunch of electric eels from one corner of the tank to another with just one hand. A brave heart named Pam Green came forward and accomplished the task in style and bagged the cash prize.

Some species of eels have a peculiar breeding pattern. They travel a long distance, sometimes up to 4000 miles, for breeding purposes. The long journey may take them up to seven months and it's believed they remain foodless during this course of time. However, they get their energy from the fat that is already present in their body. Adult eels usually die after laying eggs. The larvae float in the water and it takes about two to three years for the little ones to mature.

A new species of eel was unearthed recently. Named as Protoanguilla Palau this species dates back to 200 million years. Hailed as a "living fossil," this species was found in the underwater caves in the Pacific Ocean. This species is an inhabitant of the water bodies in the Republic of Palau and is similar in its characteristics to its ancestors that lived in the ancient Mesozoic era.

Cody is a content writer and a fervent admirer of nature. He enjoys writing on a range of topics and specializes writing on aquatic species. He spend his leisure by watching thrilling TV programs like Fear Factor on his cable connection powered by Verizon FiOS TV

Cody - About Author:
Cody is a content writer and a fervent admirer of nature. He enjoys writing on a range of topics and specializes writing on aquatic species. He spend his leisure by watching thrilling TV programs like Fear Factor on his cable connection powered by Verizon FiOS TV

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