Illustration and Mural by Mariana Fernandes

Torpedo torpedo (Linnaeus, 1758)

EN - Common torpedo
PT - Tremelga-de-olhos, Tremedeira, treme-mão
FR - Torpille ocellée
ES - Tembladera, raya eléctrica

References and scientific facts of the animals represented by Ana Marta Costa
Graduate in Biology, Master in marine resources - artisanal fishing. Enthusiast for life science, working in various areas of biology and passionate about scientific dissemination, environmental education, nature conservation and active citizenship. He loves working for a good cause!

︎︎︎    1 m
︎  10 - 300 m
︎︎︎    15 years
︎  Solitary and Noctural
︎  Sand
︎  Fish and invertebrates
︎  Trawl and Gillnet

Least Concern (LC) means it has been evaluated against the Red List criteria and does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened.

  • Torpedos are cartilaginous fish, like sharks, rays and chimeras, which is why they have a cartilage skeleton. Their head, trunk and pectoral fins are fused into a disc shape and they have a well-developed caudal fin. 

  • There are 3 species of torpedos in Portugal, easily recognizable by their color or pattern: common torpedo (Torpedo torpedo) with 5 blue “eyespots” on its top; Marbled ray (Torpedo marmorata) with a marbled pattern; and the black torpedo (Torpedo nobiliana) with a dark back color. 

  • Torpedos have specialized electrical organs, kidney shaped, located on either size of the head, which results from the transformation of some muscles. The discharges are around 200 volts, but can go up to 600 volts, and are used to attack prey or defend against predators. 

  • The cells of this electrical organ are called electrocytes, and they begin to develop in the embryo, becoming functional even before birth. Shortly after birth, small torpedo fish can use their electrical discharge to capture prey 

  • Just like a battery, these cells are stacked in sequence. They function in a similar way as human nervous cells by pumping positive sodium and potassium ions out of the cell by energy-consuming transport proteins (ATP). 

  • Torpedo rays have an adorable ventral view that resembles a smiling face. The nostrils look like 2 eyes, the big mouth seems to smile and the 5 pairs of gills flank the sweet face 

  • Fishermen and fishmongers tell stories of electric shocks with torpedos, either when they remove them from their nets or when they are handling the fish, they say firsthand it is quite a strong electric shock

  • Its eggs look like a “strange beetle” easily found in the beach sand. This dark and thick rectangular-shaped keratinous capsule ends in four pointy tips in order to grab algae or rocks. People call these eggs, mermaid purses

Spawning December to February
4 - 6 months
3 - 21 eggs in a litter
Lenght at hatching 
9 cm


Mariana Fernandes is from Portimão, studied and lives in England, with a degree in illustration. She has a great interest and curiosity in psychology and art that represents human nature, drawing most of the inspiration for her projects from the cycles and events that occur in nature. She has a passion for all art, but especially for art that tells a story.


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