I. Physical Features
Electric eels are not really eels, they are actually ostariophysians, but have a strong physical resemblance to true eels. . An electric eel is mostly tail. The internal organs are compressed into the anterior (front) 1/5th of the body, and the rest of the fish consists of the long, electricity-producing tail. The tail contains the electric organs: Sachs' organ, Hunter's organ, and main organ. Extending down the entire tail region is an elongated anal fin. There are no dorsal or pelvic fins. An adult eel can reach any size from six to nine feet in length an weigh up to sixty pounds. It is cylindrical in shape with a slightly flattened head and large mouth. They do have gills, though it is not their primary source of oxygen intake. A thick, slimy skin covers the entire body. The skin is used as a protective layer, often from their own electrical current that is produced.
Electric eels range from gray to brownish/black in color with some yellowish coloration on the underside of the body and have tiny scales. Electric eels do not have teeth, enabling them to swallow their prey easier. The eyes are tiny, and as this fish ages, its vision diminishes.
II. Physiological Features
The Main and Hunters' organs are the high voltage producers, used for protection, fright reflexes and stunning prey. The Sachs' organ is capable only of producing low voltage pulses - its purpose is mainly electro communication and navigation. . Electric organs are made up of cells called Electrolytes. Some scientists believe these cells are derivative of a muscle-cell since nerve cells synapse onto them and they behave much like a muscle-cell post-synaptically. However, they are unlike muscle cells in that they don't contract. Flat and disk-like, the electrocytes are stacked in a...