View Full Version : California does have an electric fish.

06-27-2014, 06:22 AM
Lately, I've heard over at NPR station discussions about how 6 independently lineage of fish developed capabilities to generate electricity, enough to kill a man several times over. Imagine generating 600 Volts of electricity and amperage to boot. BTW, it is the amperage that really kills, not the voltage per se, you would need still voltage to drive the transfer of electrons, but it is the amperage or the amount of electrons traversing your body that really can kill you. When we walk thru a carpet and touched a metal object, or as we disembark our cars on dry wintry days and touched the handles, we regularly get jolts of several thousand volts of electricity, but the current draw of electrostatic forces are in the microampere range, so we often do not even feel it.

Here's the NPR discussion about the electrified lineage of fishes:
A Shocking Fish Tale Surprises Evolutionary Biologists : NPR (http://www.npr.org/2014/06/26/325246710/a-shocking-fish-tale-surprises-evolutionary-biologists)

And the most recent NatGeo article about the same topic:
The Shocking Truth About Electric Animals – News Watch (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/26/the-shocking-truth-about-electric-animals/)

And indeed, we have our own local electric ray: Torpedo californica or commonly named Pacific Electric Ray that has a range of habitat from Baja California, Mexico all the way to Canadian waters.


Pacific electric ray, Sandy Seafloor, Fishes, Torpedo californica at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/pacific-electric-ray)

06-27-2014, 06:34 AM
In fact, the word narcotic has electric fish origins. It came from the word "narke", which is a Greek name of numbfish, which are in fact electric rays that can cause numbness in human beings in the areas shocked by these rays. The ancient Romans and Greeks named the electric rays "numbfish" as they use it to treat gout, chronic headaches and other maladies.

So next time when you hear the word narcotic be reminded of its electric fish ray origins.

Here's the original source, just scroll down to Cool Facts:
Pacific electric ray, Sandy Seafloor, Fishes, Torpedo californica at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/fishes/pacific-electric-ray)