It’s Electric! Shocking Underwater Critters

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Some creatures simply detect electric fields and use electricity to navigate, while others create their own electricity. All muscles have the potential to generate some amount of electricity. In these aquatic creatures, however, certain muscle cells have evolved into cells called electrocytes, and these generate much higher voltages than ordinary muscle cells. While we all know that water and electricity don’t ordinarily mix, these creatures function just fine submerged in their habitat whether they are emitting a shock or not. And don’t fear, you can safely go swimming in a sea full of these creatures. While there have been cases of repeated fatal stingings from electric eels, they are few and far between.

Take a look at these amazing creatures that can produce their own electricity:

Electric EelsElectric Eel

Probably the creature most commonly associated with electricity, the electric eel both uses electricity to sense it’s environment and to stun prey.

Electric Stingrays

Of the 69 species of electric rays, the voltage produced by each kind varies. Some species use their voltage to stun prey, some use it as defense. Others yet use it to navigate.

Electric Catfish

Like its non-electric counterpart, the electric catfish is an aggressive hunter. It uses its power to navigate the murky habitat, as well as stun its prey and defend against predators.

Elephant-nose fish

Elephant-nose Fish

This fish generates an electrical field through its tail to help navigate past its poor eyesight.

To learn more about the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it, sign up for PADI’s Underwater Naturalist course. You will learn about the electric animals in your area, as well as many other things that will make your next dive even more interesting.