|Name: Electric Catfish
|Scientific name: Malapterurus electricus
|Range: Western and central tropical Africa and the Nile River
|Habitat: rocks or roots in dark freshwater lakes and rivers
|Status: not endangered, but the continued destruction of its habitat could eventually threaten the species
|Diet in the wild: the electric catfish is carnivorous and will eat almost anything meaty and up to half its size
|Diet in the zoo: the catfish gets a special mix of vitamins called Grind, and also is fed shrimp and canned spinach
|Location in the zoo: Aquarium
The Electric Catfish is a nocturnal (night) animal. Its most active hours are just after sunset. There has not been a successful breeding in captivity as of yet. It is thought that the Electric Catfish breeds in holes in relatively shallow water.
Malapterurus electricus is also a very solitary and predatory animal. The Electric Catfish will hide underneath rocks and vegetation most of the day.
This fish is also portrayed in Egyptian tombs around 5,000 years ago. The Egyptians gave the Electric Catfish the name "he who had saved many in the seas." This was impart that the fish would be caught in a net with other fish, and shock the fisherman, causing the net and the caught fish to fall back into the water.
or behavioral adaptations:
The adult Electric Catfish can produce an electric shock about 300-350 volts. The fish uses this voltage to stun/paralyze its prey and its attackers in order to avoid conflict and to keep it from getting injured. In captivity, an adult Electric Catfish can severely injure its caretaker if not handled properly.
about the Electric Catfish of the Fort Worth Zoo:
I observed the animal around 4:00 PM, right before the Fort Worth Zoo closed. Since this time of the day was not the fish's peak hour, it did not do very much. It was, however, hiding by itself underneath rocks. Because of its stillness during the day, this fish is very photogenic.
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Page author:Heather Hamilton
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Fish at the Fort Worth Zoo