The Torpedo, pp.272-273.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS a most wonderful marine animal, endowed by Providence with an electric power, the nature of which it has not been yet possible to ascertain. It gives a smart shock to the person who handles the fish, similar to that produced by the electrical machine. The body of this fish is nearly circular, and thicker than any of the Ray kind, to which it belongs. The shock imparted by the touch of the cramp-fish, as he is vulgarly called from this circumstance, is often attended with a sudden sickness at the stomach, a general tremor, a kind of convulsion, and sometimes a total suspension of the faculties of the mind. Such power of self defence has Providence allowed this animal! When ever his enemy approaches him, he emits from his body that benumbing charm which sets the other at rest instantly, and thereby he gets time to escape. But it is not only a sure means of defence, as, through it, the Torpedo benumbs his prey and most easily seizes upon it. 

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