Scientists shocked to seek out that electrical eels typically hunt in packs

Volta’s electrical eels can collect in teams, working collectively to corral smaller fish in shallower waters, a brand new examine finds. Then, smaller teams of about 10 eels assault in unison with high-voltage discharges.

Electrical eels have been lengthy believed to be solitary predators, preferring to hunt and kill their prey alone by sneaking up on unsuspecting sleeping fish at night time and stunning them into submission. However in line with a latest paper revealed within the journal Ecology and Evolution, there are uncommon circumstances through which eels make use of a social searching technique as a substitute. Particularly, researchers have noticed greater than 100 electrical eels in a small lake within the Brazilian Amazon River basin forming cooperative searching events to seize small fish referred to as tetras.

“That is a unprecedented discovery,” co-author C. David de Santana, of the Smithsonian Nationwide Museum of Pure Historical past, mentioned. “Nothing like this has ever been documented in electrical eels. Looking in teams is fairly frequent amongst mammals, nevertheless it’s really fairly uncommon in fishes. There are solely 9 different species of fishes identified to do that, which makes this discovering actually particular.”

Electrical eels are technically knife fish. The eel produces its signature electrical discharges—each high and low voltages, relying on the aim for discharging—by way of three pairs of belly organs composed of electrocytes, situated symmetrically alongside each side of the eel. The mind sends a sign to the electrocytes, opening ion channels and briefly reversing the polarity. The distinction in electrical potential then generates a present, very like a battery with stacked plates.

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