Ocellated Torpedo - Torpedo torpedo

Also commonly known as Common Torpedo, or Eyed Electric Ray, Torpedo torpedo (Torpediniformes - Torpedinidae) is a species of electric ray, which occurs in the eastern Atlantic, including Mediterranean Sea, inhabiting on soft bottoms, typically in inshore locations although it is occasionally observed in deeper waters.

This ray more commonly reaches lengths of 30 cm (male) and 39 cm (female). They feed primarily on benthic bony fish, and occasionally eat crustaceans. Ocellated torpedos can use its pair of large electric organs to stun prey and deter threats. Each organ is comprised of 400-500 columns that contain jelly-filled disks referred to as “electroplaques”. These columns work together and are capable of discharging up to 200 volts either singly or in bursts. 

The genus name, Torpedo, comes from the Latin word torpidus, meaning numbness in reference to the effect of the electric organ. The electric shock from the common torpedo is quite strong but is not life-threatening to humans. In fact, due to the local anesthetic properties of electrical discharges from torpedo fish, described by the ancient Greeks with the word ‘narke’, since 153 AD, the Roman physician Scribonius Largus advised his patients to stand on moist, live torpedo fish to cure any type of gout.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credits: ©Antoni López-Arenas | Locality: Pont del Petroli, Manresa, Badalona, Catalonia, 10m deep (2013) | [Top] - [Bottom]

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Described based on four specimens collected in 2015 from the Andaman Sea, off Myanmar. The fanray (Platyrhina psomadakisi) is  the first records of the family Platyrhinidae from the Indian Ocean with the three other members of the genus being restricted to the North-West Pacific. This new species differs from its congeners in having a series of faint dark bands on the body and tail, more pectoral-fin radials, and much more widely separated dorsal fins.  The Andaman Sea is the marginal body of water of the northeastern Indian Ocean.

- Female Platyrhina psomadakisi in all in all its splendor and majesty 

And from the tropical eastern Indian Ocean, Indonesia, another chondrichities is described, the new species of numbfish Narcine baliensis is distinguished from its congeners in details of its color pattern, in tooth band morphology, and in proportions of its dorsal fins, among other features. 

The numbfishes are a group of electric rays (order Torpediniformes). They are bottom-dwelling cartilaginous fishes with large, rounded pectoral fin discs and long tails. They can produce an electric discharge for defense, from which their scientific name is derived (Greek narke, meaning “paralysis”).

- Male Narcine baliensis, from southern coast of Central Java, Indonesia.

Despite these new species are not related, both are demersal, living in relationship with the seafloor.



Coffin Ray (Hypnos monopterygius)

… is a species of electric ray or numbfish found only off the coasts of Eastern and Western Australia. Like all electric rays the coffin ray has an electric organ which allows it to dispatch its prey with a 200v electric shock, it uses this shock to feed on fish, cephalopods, worms and occasionally penguins and rats. Coffin rays are poor swimmers and are active at night, during the day they spend their time buried in the sediment to keep out of the sight of predators. Although their shock can cause severe pain in humans it is in no way lethal.



Image Source(s)

Narcine baliensis • A New Species of Electric Ray (Chondrichthyes: Torpediniformes) from southeast Asia  [2016]

A new species of numbfish, Narcine baliensis, sp. nov., is described from the tropical eastern Indian Ocean from Indonesia. It is superficially similar to N. brevilabiata and N. atzi in aspects of its color pattern, but is distinguished from both congeners in details of its color pattern, in tooth band morphology, and in proportions of its dorsal fins, among other features.

Narcine baliensis, sp. nov., is unique in having a dorsal color pattern composed of large, circular, ovoid or elongate dark brown spots or blotches on dorsal disc along with more numerous small (about eye-sized or slightly greater) brownish, subcircular spots, with large blotches and small spots surrounded by a very slender creamy-white pattern, as well as in having broadly circular upper and lower tooth bands of about the same width and shape.

The genus Narcine is now composed of 20 valid species, but uncertainty remains concerning the identification and morphological variation of some of its species in the tropical Indo-West Pacific region. 

(via: NovaTaxa - Species New to Science)


Marcelo R. De Carvalho and William T. White. 2016. Zootaxa. 4127(1);  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4127.1.8