How Electric Eels Not Only Stun, But Remotely Control Their Prey

by Owen James Burke

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 8.42.28 PM

Photo: K. Catania/BBC

Electric eels don’t only shock their prey, they play them like fiddles, too. According to a Vanderbilt University study published in Science Magazine, electric eels, which can produce up to 860 volts of electricity, remotely control fish from meters away before they stun them.

The only member of its genus, Electrophorus electricus is able to manipulate its prey by emitting pulses that directly affect the nerves that control the muscles of pretty much anything in the water around it. Scientists have known since the 1970s that electric eels release coupled shocks known as doublets, usually when prey is known to be in the vicinity, but out of sight. These doublets cause fish to jump spastically and reveal their whereabouts, which, with any luck for the eel, makes them an easy meal.

Watch the Science Magazine video:

Read more on the BBC — OJB

Facebook Comments