Phylum :- CHORDATA ( Notochord and dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill-slits present).

Group :- CRANIATA ( Cranium with brain present ).

Subphylum :- VERTEBRATA (Vertebral column present ).

Division :- Gnathostomata ( Jaws and paired appendages present ).

Super class :- PISCES (Paired fins , gills and skin with scales)

Class :-  CHONDRICHTHYES { =ELASMOBRANCHI } (Endoskeleton cartilaginous. Scales usually placoid. spiral valve in intestine ).

Sub-class :- Selachi (Sharks and rays. Gills in seperate clefts. Cloaca present).

Order :- HYPOTREMATA { =Batoidea } (Gills-slits ventral. spiracles present. dorsal fin on tail, if present)

Family :- TORPIDINIDAE (trunk forms a broad and smooth disk, contains electric organ)

Genus :- TORPEDO ( Electric Ray )

Geographical distribution

Torpedo has been reported from the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Red Sea, Pacific Ocean. East Indies, Tasmania, China, Japan, South Africa, North and South America as well as Australia.

Habit and habitat

Torpedo or Astrape is a marine carnivorous fish, found on flat. sandy or maddy bottom at a depth of 80-100 meters. It is carnivorous and viviparous producing young ova.

Fig:- Paired right and left electric organs hidden under integument.
Fig:- Left electric organ exposed showing hexagonal cells of electric organ.


  • Commonly known as Electric ray because of the presence of a pair of electric organs, one either side of the body between head and the pectoral fins.
  • Body is divided into anterior semicircular disk supported by endoskeleton and posterior tail Fish measures 60 to 90 cm across the widest part of the disk and the whole body has brown background which is ornamented with beautiful irregularly shaped, magenta-coloured spirals and spots.
  • Semicircular region is supported by branched prenasal rostrum and laterally by branched pre-orbital cartilages. Branches radiate towards periphery.
  • Disk is bordered by pectoral fins.
  • Skin smooth, non-tuberculate and without scales.
  • Mouth is transverse and ventrally situated.
  • Tail is thick and short with 1 dorsal fin, 2nd dorsal fin and caudal fin. Pelvic fins are beneath the lower margin of the pectoral fin.

Special features

  • Torpedo contains a pair of large electric organs between margins of pectoral fins and head. These organs are considered as modifications of the adductor mandibulate and constrictor muscles and supplied by vagus and trigeminal nerves from vagus and trigeminal nerves from electric lobe of the medulla
  • Each electric organ is composed of hexagonal cells called electroplexes which are filled with jelly-like fluid and arranged vertically like prisms between upper and lower surfaces. Upper surface corresponds to anode and lower surface with the cathode. Thus, electric current of 50 to 60 volts passes from upper positive to lower negative surface. After fish has discharged electricity, some rest is required for further discharge. These are offensive and defensive organs and fishermen get electric shocks from captured electric rays.


Since this fish has 2 bulging electric organs and above features, hence it is Torpedo.

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