Electric Torpedo Ray – Fish of the Day

15th April 2016

Today’s fish is known to pack a shocking surprise – the Short-tail Torpedo Ray (Torpedo macneilli).

The Short-tail Torpedo Ray has rows of modified muscle cells, known as electocytes, throughout its disc. These cells act like miniature batteries and are capable of releasing a series of shocks equivalent in voltage to four car batteries.

There are reports of fisherman being thrown several feet after touching large specimens of this ray. This remarkable mechanism is used to stun its prey of small fish and may also function in protecting the ray from predators such as sharks. Check out this video of the ray in action hunting.

This specimen was recently captured by a trawler working off the Victorian coast and was ‘carefully’ released alive.


A 60 cm long Short-tail Torpedo Ray trawled during the NORFANZ expedition at a depth between 587 m and 700 m on the Lord Howe Rise north of Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, May 2003 (CSIRO H6030-12).