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Electric Rays. Narcinidae & Torpedinidae species.
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© 2014 Kelvin Aitken.
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Family: Narcinidae (numbfishes) with subfamily Narcininae & subfamily Narkinae (sleeper rays)
Family Torpedinidae (torpedo electric rays) and subfamily Hypninae (coffin rays) & subfamily Torpedininae (Torpedo Rays)
Taxonomic name (of species shown above): Narke japonica
Other Common Names: Japanese Numbray
Two species of electric rays are found in shallow water and four other
species that are usually picked up by trawlers live in deeper waters.
As the name suggests, all have one asset in common: the ability to deliver
an electric shock, which may be anything from a mild tingle to a body-contorting
The Numbfish or Numbray, also known as the Coffin Ray (Hypnos monopterygium)
(a name not due to any deadly attributes but to the shape of specimens
that have been dried out in the sun), can be found in shallow water down
to below 200 m. Their brown colouring can vary from pale pink to chocolate,
sometimes with a blotchy or sandy pattern.
Numbfish are usually found buried in sand or silt waiting for they prey
to swim within striking distance. When a crab or fish comes too close
it is hit with an electric charge that stuns it so that the ray can feed
without fear of retaliation or injury. This animal is capable of delivering
a severe electric shock, as many divers and anglers have found, and it
should be left alone.
Numbfish are found camouflaged beneath a layer of sand with just their
eyes and spiracles protruding. To tempt prey to within striking range
some Numbfish have a small black worm that lives on the eye or spiracle.
Its colour is in stark contrast to the sand and it performs a constant
swaying dance which attracts fish to the ray. This is a commensal, not
a parasitic, relationship as both the ray and worm benefit.
Currently the Numbfishes, Torpedo Rays, Sleeper Rays, and Electric Rays are divided into families, sub families and genus as shown below:
Family Narcinidae (numbfishes)
Subfamily Narkinae (sleeper rays)
Family Torpedinidae (torpedo electric rays)
Subfamily Hypninae (coffin rays)
Current list of species in our database:
Ocellated Numbfish (Diplobatis ommata)
Numb Ray (Hypnos monopterygium)
Lesser Electric Ray (Narcine bancroftii)
Brazillian Numbfish (Narcine braziliensis)
Giant Numbfish (Narcine entemedor)
Tasmanian Numbfish (Narcine tasmaniensis)
Japanese Numbray (Narke japonica)
Pacific Electric Ray (Torpedo californica)
Short-tailed Torpedo Ray (Torpedo macneilli)
Spotted Torpedo Ray (Torpedo marmorata)
Trapezoid Torpedo Ray (Torpedo tokionis) or Longtailed Torpedo Ray.
Komodo Torpedo Ray (Torpedo sp.)