Electric-Organ Slide

All animals emit some electrical charges, usually very weak. Some animals, however, have evolved complex and beneficial electrical tools. Whether this is the stun to kill, or merely a tracking device, it is a fascinating field full of high potential.

The most commonly known creature is, of course, the Electric Eel. Not a true eel, it is actually a member of the knifefish family. Comprising 4/5ths of the eel’s body mass, the three electrical organs within the eel can produce enough electricity to be fatal to a human. Additionally, these are air-breathing fish, and must return to the surface for air.

“The electric eel has three abdominal pairs of organs that produce electricity: the Main organ, the Hunter’s organ, and the Sachs organ. These organs comprise four-fifths of its body, and are what give the electric eel the ability to generate two types of electric organ discharges (EODs), low voltage and high voltage. These organs are made of electrocytes, lined up so that the current flows through them and produces an electrical charge. When the eel locates its prey, the brain sends a signal through the nervous system to the electric cells. This opens the ion channel, allowing positively-charged sodium to flow through, reversing the charges momentarily. By causing a sudden difference in voltage, it generates a current.

The electric eel generates its characteristic electrical pulse in a manner similar to a battery, in which stacked plates produce an electrical charge. In the electric eel, some 5,000 to 6,000 stacked electroplaques are capable of producing a shock at up to 500 volts and 1 ampere of current (500 watts). Such a shock could be deadly for an adult human.

The Sachs organ is associated with electrolocation. Inside the organ are many muscle-like cells, called electrocytes. Each cell can only produce 0.15 V, though working together the organ transmits a signal of about 10 V in amplitude at around 25 Hz. These signals are what is emitted by the main organ and Hunter’s organ that can be emitted at rates of several hundred Hz. ” ~ Wikipedia

Researchers have theorized that such organs can not only be replicated, but improved, and possible used to power bionic limbs.

The Electric Ray is another unique beast. Known since antiquity for it’s electrical qualities, this ray was possibly used in the treatment of gout and headaches, as well as to numb the pain of childbirth.

While several other varieties of fish use some form of electricity, only two mammals do: the platypus and the echidna. Electrosensors cover the platypus’s bill, allowing it to distinguish between trash and living food.
Research into the electrical capabilities of these animals is fairly new. Bionic limbs is only the beginning.
Imagine the underwater weapons! Ray guns, underwater. Because electric animals all have a unique energy sender, whoever owns the weapon could have an integrated chip within their hands to protect them from the shock.

Warning systems. A magic city, guarded by advanced eels. Hey, I’d read it.

New organs, or saving old organs. A heart-attack occurs, leading to a change in the electric sensor. Tuned to that frequency, some sort of organic-tech hardware is triggered to jump-start the heart, giving the victim valuable time, and possibly lowering the amount of brain-damage.

Electricity is often equated with life. What if these creatures became central to an empire, a magician’s court, or a healing practice?

The possibilities for electric creatures are nearly endless. Organic or cold tech, human or fish, this is a largely unknown system. (As an aside, wouldn’t it be great to see electric eels and rays in steampunk?)

So, where do you think it could take us? Be as wild and weird as you want, and let us know!

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