Electric rays (Torpediniformes) fish profile and information / pictures of Electric rays - Torpediniformes

Electric rays (Torpediniformes) fish profiles

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Electric ray information and info on the Torpediniformes also known as Electric rays

Electric rays are a group of rays, flattened cartilaginous fish with enlarged pectoral fins, comprising the order Torpediniformes. They are known for being capable of producing an electric discharge, ranging from as little as 8 volts up to 220 volts depending on species, used to stun prey and for defense. There are 69 species in four families.

Perhaps the best known members are those of the genus Torpedo, also called crampfish and numbfish, after which the device called a torpedo is named. The name comes from the Latin torpere, to be stiffened or paralyzed, referring to the effect on someone who handles or steps on a living electric ray.

With their thick, flabby bodies and short tails, torpedo rays are poor swimmers. Their disk-shaped bodies allow them to remain suspended in the water or roam with minimal swimming effort.

Electric rays have a rounded pectoral disc with two moderately large rounded-angular (not pointed or hooked) dorsal fins (reduced in some narkids), and a stout, muscular tail with a well-developed caudal fin. The body is thick and flabby, with soft, loose skin devoid of dermal denticles and thorns. A pair of kidney-shaped electric organs are found at the base of the pectoral fins. The snout is broad, large in the Narcinidae but reduced in all other families. The mouth, nostrils, and five pairs of gill slits are located underneath the disc.

Electric rays are found from shallow coastal waters down to at least 1000 metres (3300 ft) depth. They are sluggish and slow moving, propelling themselves along with their tails, rather than using their disc-shaped bodies, as other rays do. They feed on invertebrates and small fish. They lie in wait for prey below the sand or other substrate, using their electricity to stun and capture it.

Families within this order


Coffin rays
(Hypnidae)

Electric rays
(Torpedinidae)

Numbfishes
(Narcinidae)

Sleeper rays
(Narkidae)