Electric eels work together to zap prey

Over 200 years after the electric eel inspired the design of the first battery, it was discovered that they can co-ordinate their “zaps.”

Researchers working in the Amazon filmed eels gathering in packs to herd prey, then stunning them with a synchronized electric shock.

Researcher Carlos David de Santana said, “It was really amazing – we thought these were solitary animals… I have never in my life seen so many adult electric eels together.”

The discovery is published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Douglas Bastos, from the National Centre for Amazonian research in Manaus, Brazil, filmed the behavior – capturing the moment of the collective electric strike. Small fish, called tetras, are the target of the attack; they fly into the air and land stunned and motionless on the water.

Volta’s electric eel is capable of producing an 860-volt electric shock – the strongest electric discharge of any animal on Earth, and almost four times the voltage from a plug socket.

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