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South American Knifefishes and Electric Eels: Gymnotiformes

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Electric Eel (electrophorus Electricus): Species Accounts, Glass Knifefish (eigenmannia Lineata): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABIT

ELECTRIC EEL (Electrophorus electricus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
GLASS KNIFEFISH (Eigenmannia lineata): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

South American knifefishes and electric eels live in South America and Central America.

South American knifefishes and electric eels live in small streams, large rivers, lakes, and various types of backwaters. Many of these fishes live in deep, main-river channels. Some live in water with low oxygen content and gulp air at the water surface. Most of these fishes tolerate very warm water.

Some South American knifefishes and electric eels eat mostly young insect larvae (LAR-vee), worms, and crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns), water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone. Some have large mouths and feed on large prey. Some feed on scales. Some have a long, curved mouth and search for insect larvae in holes and crevices.

Electric eels are used to study how electricity relates to biology. Some larger knifefishes are eaten by people who live in their geographic range.

South American knifefishes and electric eels are not threatened or endangered.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates