Electric Eel can remotely Control its Prey: Hijacking Neural Pathways


Recent research has surfaced eels’ ability of using shock waves to incapacitate as well as manipulate prey. The predators either discharge a single zap or produce high torrents of voltage causing fish to experience massive involuntary muscle spasms. In some cases, the shocking tactics is used by the eels to generate minor muscle twitches in prey only to get acquaint with their location, the working is similar to that of a sonar.


Muscle powered biological batteries is what keeps these eels an edge of discharging nearly 600 volts. This is equivalent to the energy generated by the subway power system in New York.


In an experiment conducted by Professor Catania at Vanderbilt University, Nashville it was observed that eels were able to identify its prey through a thin gelatin barrier thus, producing the twitching effect in the fishes after receiving the shock waves. Simultaneous discharges stirred uncontrolled muscle movements, which further move to a full predatory strike.


Technically, twitching might lead to escape but the predator’s multiple discharges leads to the immobilizing of swimming muscles. Since, neural pathways are hijacked by zaps of electric shocks. Researchers concluded that electric eels have evolved to the extent of controlling its prey remotely by taking full charge of its nervous system.

Source: Vanderbilt University

About Pooja Kashyap

A CPD certified Fitness Trainer, Pooja also likes to spend time reading and blogging the latest research and discoveries in science and how technology is shaping the world. Besides writing, she enjoys reviewing books and taking interviews of creative/innovative people. Currently, she is located in Noida, India, where she actively participates in marathons as well. She is also on Quora l Twitter and LinkedIn.