Electric organ


Electric organ

The electric organ is a muscular organ common to all electric fish used for the purposes of creating an electric field; a behavior used for navigation, communication or even incapacitation of prey.

Electrocytes

Electrocytes, electroplaques or electroplaxes are cells used by rays, electric eels and other electric fish for electrogenesis and electroreception. They are flat disk-like cells that are positiveley charged on one side and negatively charged on the other. Electric eels have several thousand of these cells stacked, each producing 0.15V. The cells function by pumping positive sodium and potassium ions out of the cell via transport proteins powered by adenosine triphosphate. Postsynaptically, electrocytes work much like muscle cells. They have nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. These cells are used in research because of their resemblance to nerve-muscle junctions.

Firing

To discharge the electrocytes at the correct time, the electric eel uses its pacemaker nucleus, a nucleus of pacemaker neurons. When an electric eel spots its prey, the pacemaker neurons fire and acetylcholine is subsequently released from electromotor neurons to the electrocytes, resulting in an electric organ discharge.

Location

In the electric Torpedo Ray, electroplaxes are found near the pectoral muscles and the gills. In most other fishes, they are found near the tail. In one fish genus, the electric catfish "Malapterurus", the electric organs are not made of individual electroplaxes, but are built up from charges of the epithelium, specifically the skin.

Electric Organ Discharge

Electric organ discharge (EOD) is the electric discharge generated by the organs of animals including electric fish. In some cases the electric discharge is strong and is used for protection from predators; in other cases it is weak and it is used for navigation and communication.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • electric organ — n a specialized tract of tissue (as in the electric eel) in which electricity is generated …   Medical dictionary

  • electric organ — electric keyboard (musical instrument); tract of tissue in which electricity is generated (as in an electric eel) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • electric organ — noun a) An effector organ found in some fish (especially electric eels and electric catfish), that can produce a voltage large enough to aid in predation. b) The more commonly used way of saying electronic organ. Syn …   Wiktionary

  • electric organ — noun (music) an electronic simulation of a pipe organ • Syn: ↑electronic organ, ↑Hammond organ, ↑organ • Derivationally related forms: ↑organist (for: ↑organ) …   Useful english dictionary

  • electric organ — /əˌlɛktrɪk ˈɔgən/ (say uh.lektrik awguhn) noun 1. Zoology an anatomical feature in certain fishes, which generates and discharges electricity, for navigational, predatory, or defensive purposes. 2. Music a. → organ (def. 2). b. a pipe organ which …   Australian English dictionary

  • electric organ — (in certain fishes) an organ composed of electroplaques. [1865 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • electric organ — noun Date: 1773 a specialized tract of tissue (as in the electric eel) in which electricity is generated …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • electric organ — the structure capable of emitting electrical discharges through the surrounding water and which may be used to stun prey, to repel predators or as a radar like device to detect objects under conditions of poor visibility, e.g. Torpedo,… …   Dictionary of ichthyology

  • Organ (music) — Organ 1741 Pipe organ in Église Saint Thomas, Strasbourg, France. Classification Keyboard instrument (Aerophone) Playing r …   Wikipedia

  • Electric fish — Electric eels are fish capable of generating an electrical field. An electric fish is a fish that can generate electric fields. It is said to be electrogenic; a fish that has the ability to detect electric fields is said to be electroreceptive.… …   Wikipedia