The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

Related Overviews


More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Science and technology
  • Life Sciences


Show Summary Details


electric organ

Quick Reference

An organ occurring on the body or tail of certain fish, such as the electric ray (Torpedo) and electric eel (Electrophorus electricus). It gives an electric shock when touched and is used either to stun prey or predators or, in some species, to maintain a weak electric field in the surrounding water that is used in navigation. The organ is composed of modified muscle cells (electroplate or electroplax cells), nervous stimulation of which greatly increases the potential difference across the cell. The electroplates are in series so a high overall voltage can be achieved.

Reference entries