Electrophorus electricus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

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 elétrico
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
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.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:No decline ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

♦  Research
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Albert, J.S. and Campos-da-Paz, R. 1998. Phylogenetic systematics of Gymnotiformes with diagnoses of 58 clades: a review of available data. In: L.R. Malabarba, R.E. Reis, R.P. Vari, Z.M.S. Lucena and C.A.S. Lucena (eds), Phylogeny and classification of neotropical fishes., pp. 419-446. Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS.

Albert, J.S. and Crampton, W.G.R. 2005. Diversity and Phylogeny of Neotropical Electric Fishes (Gymnotiformes). In: T.H. Bullock, C.D. Hopkins, A.N. Popper and R.R. Fay (Eds) (eds), Electroreception, pp. 360 - 403. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Anon. 1999. Fish collection database of the Natural History Museum. Natural History Museum, London (formerly British Museum of Natural History (BMNH)).

Anon. 2000. Fish collection database of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa. J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown.

Anon. 2000. The icthyological collection of the Zoological Museum Hamburg (ZMH). Division of Icthyology and Herpetology, Zoological.

Anon. 2001. Fish collection database of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution)..

Anon. 2001. Fish collection database of the Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen. Unpublished.

Anon. 2002. Fish collection database of the American Museum of Natural History..

Anon. 2003. Fish collection of the Royal Ontario Museum. Royal Ontario Museum.

Axelrod, H.R., Burgess, W.E., Pronek, N. and Walls, J.G. 1991. Dr. Axelrod's Atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey, USA.

Barriga, R. 1991. Peces de agua dulce del Ecuador. Revista de Informacion tecnico-cientifica, Quito, Ecuador, Politecnica XVI(3): 7-88.

Bennett, M.V.L. 1971. Electric organs. In: W.S. Hoar and D.J. Randall (eds), Fish Physiology, pp. 347-491. Academic Press, London.

Boujard, T., Pascal, M., Meunier, J.F. and Le Bail, P.Y. 1997. Poissons de Guyane. Guide écologique de l'Approuague et de la réserve des Nouragues. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Paris.

Campos-da-Paz, R. 2001. Electrophoridae..

Carl, H. 2003. Danish fish names. Unpublished.

Cox, R.T. 1938. The electric eel at home. Bulletin of the NewYork Zoology Society 41: 59-65.

Cox, R.T. 1943. Electric fish. American Journal of Physics. 11: 13-22.

Da Silva Assunçao, M.I. and Schwassmann, H.O. 1992. Modos de reproduçao do poraquê Electrophorus electricus (L.) (Gymnotiformes, Electrophoridae). Congr. Latino-Amer. Zool 406: 102.

Da Silva Assuncao, M.I. and Schwassmann, H.O. 1995. Reproduction and larval development of Electrophorus electricus on Marajo Island (Para, Brazil). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 6(2): 175-184.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1996. PISCES..

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1997. PISCES. URL: gopher://gopher.calacademy.org:640/7.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1998. Catalogue of fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.

Eschmeyer, W.N. 1999. Catalo of fishes. Updated database version of November 1999..

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2006. FishBase. Available at: www.fishbase.org.

Grabda, E. and Heese, T. 1991. Polskie nazewnictwo popularne kraglouste i ryby. Cyclostomata et Pisces..

Halperin, D.C. 1979. Circadian rhythms of electric organ discharge activity in the electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). MS thesis, Hunter college, New York.

Hureau, J.-C. 1991. La base de données GICIM: Gestion informatisée des collections ichthyologiques du Muséum. Atlas Préliminaire des Poissons d'Eau Douce de France., pp. 225-227. Conseil Supérieur de la Pêche, Ministère de l'Environnement, CEMAGREF et Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Kirschbaum, F. 1995. Reproduction and development in mormyriform and gymnotiform fishes. In: P. Moller (ed.), Electric fishes: history and behavior. Fish and Fisheries Series 117., pp. 267-301. Chapman & Hall, London.

Kullander, S.O. 2003. Checklist of Swedish common names..

Lindsey, C.C. 1978. Form, function and locomotory habits in fish. In: W.S. Hoar and D.J. Randall (eds), Fish Physiology VII, pp. 1-100. Academic Press, New York.

Mago-Leccia, F. 1994. Electric fishes of the continental waters of America. FUDECI, Caracas, Venezuela.

Møller, P.R. 1995. Electric fishes: history and behavior. Chapman & Hall, London.

Nelson, J.S. 1984. Fishes of the world. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

Newman, L. 1995. Census of fish at the Vancouver aquarium, 1994. Unpublished manuscript.

Nigrelli, R.F. 1959. Longevity of fishes in captivity, with special reference to those kept in the New York Aquarium. In: G.E.W. Wolstehnolmen and M. O'Connor (eds), Ciba Foundation Colloquium on Ageing: the life span of animals., pp. 212-230. Churchill, London.

Ortega, H. and Vari, R.P. 1986. Annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Peru. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 437: 1-25.

Pereira, R. 1982. Peixes de nossa terra. Livraria Nobel, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Planquette, P., Keith, P. and Le Bail, P.-Y. 1996. Atlas des poissons d'eau douce de Guyane (tome 1). IEGB-M.N.

Ricker, W.E. 1973. Russian-English dictionary for students of fisheries and aquatic biology. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa.

Riehl, R. and Baensch, H.A. 1991. Aquarien Atlas. Band 1.: 992.

Riehl, R. and Baensch, H.A. 1996. Aquarien Atlas, Band 1..

Robins, C.R., Bailey, R.M., Bond, C.E., Brooker, J.R., Lachner, E.A., Lea, R.N. and Scott, W.B. 1991. World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada.

Soares, M.G.M., Almeida, R.G. and Tunk, W.T. 1986. The trophic status of the fish fauna in Lago Camaleao, a macrophyte dominated floodplain lake in the middle Amazon. Amazoniana 4(IX): 511-526.

Swedish Museum of Natural History. 1999. NRM Ichthyology collection database. Ichthyology Section, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden.

Tello, S. and Sánchez, H. 1995. To be filled. Unpublished.

Varjo, M. 1981. Kalannimiluettelo (List of Finnish fish names). Luonnon Tutkija 85: 1-60.

Varjo, M., Koli, L. and Dahlström, H. 2004. Kalannimiluettelo (versio 10/03). Suomen Biologian Seura Vanamo Ry.

Westby, G.W.M. 1988. The ecology, discharge diversity and predatory behavior of gymnotiform electric fish in the coastal streams of French Guiana. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 22: 341-354.

Wheeler, A. 1977. Das grosse Buch der Fische. Eugen Ulmer GmbH & Co. Stuttgart.

Wu, H.L., Shao, K.T. and Lai, C.F. 1999. Latin-Chinese dictionary of fishes names. The Sueichan Press, Taiwan.

Citation: Reis, R & Lima, F. 2009. Electrophorus electricus. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T167700A6369863. . Downloaded on 21 June 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided