As in other ostariophysan fishes, the swim bladder has two chambers. The anterior chamber is connected to the inner ear by a series of small bones derived from neck vertebrae called the Weberian apparatus, which greatly enhances its hearing capability. The posterior chamber extends along the whole length of the body and maintains the fish's buoyancy. E. electricus has a well-developed sense of hearing. This fish has a vascularized respiratory system with gas exchange occurring through epithelial tissue in its buccal cavity. As obligate air-breathers, electric eels must rise to the surface every ten minutes or so to inhale before returning to the bottom. Nearly eighty percent of the oxygen used by the fish is obtained in this way.
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