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the web of life in southern Africa

Torpedinoidei (electric rays)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii > Batoidei > Rajiformes

These flattened, bottom-dwelling and pelagic rays have rounded expanded pectoral fins forming a broad thick disk with the head and body, and a short stout tail with a broad caudal fin and 2, 1, or no dorsal fins. All have a pair of powerful, kidney-shaped electric organs at the bases of the pectoral fins. Large individuals are capable of delivering a sudden shock of up to 220 volts. Electric rays use their `batteries' to defend themselves and to stun their prey. All are live-bearers. 4 families and 43 species, of which 2, the Torpedinidae and Narkidae, and at least 5 species occur in the area.

Families found in Southern Africa

Narcinidae (numbfishes)


Narkidae (sleeper rays)

Torpedinidae (torpedo rays)

Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert and Malcolm J. Smale