Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Shocking History of Electric FishesFrom Ancient Epochs to the Birth of Modern Neurophysiology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stanley Finger and Marco Piccolino

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366723

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366723.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 09 December 2018

Rediscovering the Torporific Catfish

Rediscovering the Torporific Catfish

Chapter:
(p.112) Chapter 7 Rediscovering the Torporific Catfish
Source:
The Shocking History of Electric Fishes
Author(s):

Stanley Finger

Marco Piccolino

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366723.003.0007

As shown in the previous chapter, the Renaissance in the West was a period in which the limits of the world were broadened in many ways. Geographically, this was a time marked by great navigations toward far and unexplored lands with new wonders to behold. This chapter focuses on Africa and particularly Ethiopia to look at how these voyages and this widening of the world during the Age of Discovery drew more attention to electric fish. It examines how the silurus or electric catfish (Malapterurus electricus), so beautifully depicted on Egyptian tomb paintings and alluded to by some scholars in the Middle East, was “discovered” by Europeans who were in Africa in the Early Modern Era. The emphasis is on the Portuguese missionaries in Ethiopia, and how their findings were described and disseminated. It is shown that the early descriptions focused on the ability of this fish to torpify, while providing minimal morphological information. This caused some people to confuse the elongated African river catfish with disk-like sea torpedoes, as well as with the electric eel that was just being discovered in South America.

Keywords:   Africa, ethiopia, electric fishes, electric catfish, torpedoes, electric eel

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .