electric ray


electric ray
any ray of the family Torpedinidae, capable of emitting strong electric discharges.
[1765-75]

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Any of the aquatic rays (families Torpedinidae, Narkidae, and Temeridae) that produce an electrical shock.

They are found worldwide in warm and temperate seas, mostly in shallow water but some (genus Benthobatis) at depths greater than 3,000 ft (900 m). Slow-moving bottom-dwellers, they feed on fishes and invertebrates. They range in length from less than 1 ft (30 cm) to about 6 ft (1.8 m) and have a short, stout tail. They are soft and smooth-skinned, with a circular or nearly circular body disk formed by the head and pectoral fins. They are harmless unless touched or stepped on. The electric organs, composed of modified muscle tissue, are in the disk near the head. The shock from these organs, which may reach 220 volts and is strong enough to fell a human adult, is used for defense, sensory location, and capturing prey.

Electric ray (Narcine brasiliensis)

Douglas Faulkner

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fish
also called  torpedo, torpedo fish, numbfish, or crampfish,  
 any of the rays of the families Torpedinidae, Narkidae, Narcinidae, and Hypnidae, named for their ability to produce electrical shocks. They are found worldwide in warm and temperate waters.

      There are numerous species of electric ray; most inhabit shallow water, but some (Benthobatis) live at depths of 1,000 m (3,300 feet) and more. Slow-moving bottom dwellers, electric rays feed on fishes and invertebrates. They are harmless unless touched or stepped on and are of negligible commercial interest.

      Electric rays range in length from under 30 cm (1 foot) to about 2 m (6 feet). They are soft and smooth-skinned, with a circular or nearly circular body disk formed by the head and pectoral fins. The electric organs, composed of modified muscle tissue, are in the disk, one on each side of the head. The shock from these organs is used in defense, sensory location, and capturing prey. Electric shocks emitted reach 220 volts and are strong enough to fell a human adult. In ancient Greece and Rome, the shocks of the species Torpedo nobiliana were used as a treatment for gout, headache, and other maladies.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Electric ray — Electric E*lec tric ([ e]*l[e^]k tr[i^]k), Electrical E*lec tric*al ([ e]*l[e^]k tr[i^]*kal), a. [L. electrum amber, a mixed metal, Gr. h lektron; akin to hle ktwr the beaming sun, cf. Skr. arc to beam, shine: cf. F. [ e]lectrique. The name came… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Electric ray — Ray Ray, n. [F. raie, L. raia. Cf. {Roach}.] (Zo[ o]l.) (a) Any one of numerous elasmobranch fishes of the order Rai[ae], including the skates, torpedoes, sawfishes, etc. (b) In a restricted sense, any of the broad, flat, narrow tailed species,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • electric ray — n any of various round bodied short tailed rays (family Torpedinidae) of warm seas that have a pair of specialized tracts of tissue in which electricity is generated …   Medical dictionary

  • electric ray — n. any of an order (Torpediniformes) of cartilaginous fishes with special organs that can produce strong electrical discharges used to paralyze or stun its enemies or prey …   English World dictionary

  • Electric ray — Taxobox name = Electric rays image width = 240px image caption = Torpedo fuscomaculata regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Chondrichthyes subclassis = Elasmobranchii superordo = Batoidea ordo = Torpediniformes subdivision ranks =… …   Wikipedia

  • electric ray — noun any sluggish bottom dwelling ray of the order Torpediniformes having a rounded body and electric organs on each side of the head capable of emitting strong electric discharges • Syn: ↑crampfish, ↑numbfish, ↑torpedo • Hypernyms: ↑ray • Member …   Useful english dictionary

  • electric ray — elec′tric ray′ n. ich any ray of the family Torpedinidae, capable of emitting strong electric discharges • Etymology: 1765–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • electric ray — /əˌlɛktrɪk ˈreɪ/ (say uh.lektrik ray) noun a ray of the family Torpedinidae which possesses a peculiar organ enabling it to stun its prey with electric shock …   Australian English dictionary

  • electric ray — noun a sluggish bottom dwelling marine ray that can produce an electric shock for the capture of prey and for defence. [Torpedo and other genera: many species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • electric ray — noun Date: 1774 any of various round bodied short tailed rays (family Torpedinidae) of warm seas with a pair of electric organs …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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