Electric eel: right electric shocks a miracle of nature
Kenneth Catania of the University of Nashville found out that electric eels also shock large mammals by lifting them out of the water.
Alexander von Humboldt's report
Alexander von Humboldt reported on eel eels on his trip to South America in 1800, which shocked horses so badly that they died.
Fishing with horses
Humboldt had asked Fischer to catch trembling eels for scientific purposes. The fishermen then drove horses and mules into a water hole. Various electric eels sprang out of the water, pressed against the horses and emitted electric shocks on them. Several horses collapsed, two drowned.
Many scientists considered Humboldt's account to be unreliable.
Stronger than a stun gun
Catania is now exposed to electric shock from an electric eel and confirms that it is stronger than an electric shock gun.
Defense against threats
The electric eels would protect themselves from threats with the electric shocks. He writes: "Apparently a violent attack is the best defense for the electric eel."
Electric eels are not eels, but knife fish that live in tropical South America.
Electricity generation on your own
Evolution has led to a special development in these Amazon fish: The body of the electric eels is populated with the electricity-generating organs.
Stream through the victim's body
Catania had previously shown that electric eels increase the force of the electric shock by rushing out of the water. So they direct the current from their chin directly into the victim's body, through the water the current flows into the tail of the electric eel, and the circuit is closed.
Electricity in the water for hunting
The energy of the electricity is distributed under water. Here, the electric eels emit the bumps especially for hunting smaller prey. These are paralyzed by the current and can be easily eaten.
Defense electricity outside the water
Outside of the water, however, the electric eels defend themselves against larger parts of the country that can be dangerous to them and whose body is partly under water.
Attacks in low water
Catania found that the electric eels attack especially when the water level is low. In the home of the animals, there were only small pools of water in the dry season, in which the “eels” were helplessly exposed to predators without the electrical defense.
40 to 50 milliamperes
In the attack he provoked on his own body, a small electric eel produced up to 50 milliamps. Human pain receptors, for example, react already at five milliamps by pulling back the arm.
The biologist says: “It is impressive that a small electric eel can distribute so much electricity. We don't know the exact drive for behavior, but they have to scare off enemies and I can tell you that they are really good at it. I cannot imagine that an animal that has received such a shock will remain close by. ”
How dangerous is the electric eel?
There are no known fatal consequences of electric shock from electric eels in humans. However, a possible muscle spasm due to the electric shock under water, which can lead to drowning in deeper water, is risky.
Electric shocks can not only be dangerous, they can also be helpful: minimal electric shocks can significantly alleviate pain in migraines. Electrical current stimulations improve memory.
(Dr. Utz Anhalt)