A new study has revealed that more than stun their prey, eels can use their electric organs to effectively remotely control the fish they hunt.
The findings are the outcome of a nine-month study in which researchers at Vanderbilt University in the US used a high-speed camera to slow down time and observe precisely how the eel hunts and catches its prey.
Using a pair low intensity pulses to make its victim involuntarily twitch and reveal its location, the eel unleashes a high powered electric discharge which leaves the prey literally frozen in a state of shock, basically taking over its nervous system.
“It really is a remote control in a sense of the eels’ neurons activating through the electric generating organs the neurons in the prey. And so they are remotely activating their preys’ muscles and essentially taking over their peripheral nervous system,” says Ken Catania, professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University.