Electrophorus electricus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Gymnotiformes Gymnotidae

Scientific Name: Electrophorus electricus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Common Name(s):
English Electric eel
Spanish Anguila, Anguilla, Anguilla electrica, Pez el├ętrico
Electrophorus multivalvulus Nakashima, 1941
Gymnotus electricus Linnaeus, 1766
Gymnotus regius Chiaje, 1847
Gymnotus tremulus Houttuyn, 1764

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Reis, R & Lima, F.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Darwall, W., Ram, M. & Smith, K. (SRLI Freshwater Fish Evaluation Workshop)
Assessed as Least Concern due to its large distribution, its ability to occupy a variety of habitats and the lack of any known major widespread threats to this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins.
Countries occurrence:
Brazil; French Guiana; Guyana; Peru; Suriname; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has a stable population trend at present.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:E. electricus is a benthopelagic (area of water not near the bottom) (ecological region at the lowest level of water body), nocturnal species that generally inhabits the muddy bottoms of rivers, streams, pools and swamps, favouring deeply shaded areas. This species is an obligatory air breather and can withstand poorly oxygenated water. Juveniles feed on invertebrates, whilst adults feed on fish and small mammals.

E. electricus is a fractional spawner; there are three successive batches of eggs deposited in a spawning period. Males construct foam nests and guard the growing larvae until mid-January when the first seasonal rains flood the breeding area, causing the young eels to disperse. First-born larvae prey on other eggs and embryos coming from late spawning batches. There is a male-biased sex ratio, (3:1) and males are also considerably larger than females.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: E. electricus has little economic value to humans. Occasionally they are eaten by locals of the Amazon area. Although there is no commercial value, the electric eel has been a constant source of study for many years. The scientific community is very interested in studying the electrical capabilities of these fish. Of electric fish, E. electricus is the best documented species (Moller 1995).  Not a significant level of harvest to constitute any threat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Small specimens are collected for the aquarium trade, they are harvested for human consumption and also for science although none of the collections are causing a decline in the population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures in place.

Citation: Reis, R & Lima, F. 2009. Electrophorus electricus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T167700A6369863. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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