Scientist Shocks Himself With an Electric Eel…Because Science


Holy leaping eel! A hall-effect ammeter totalled a stream by a arm of a tellurian theme as a eel leaped during a arm.  (Credit: Catania, Power Transfer to a Human during an Electric Eel’s Shocking Leap, Current Biology, 2017)

Electric eels are fascinating creatures. They evacuate high voltage electricity to lane and control prey, nonetheless did we know they also burst out of H2O to conflict threats? They’ve even been documented leaping during horses and humans.

Kenneth C. Catania, a biologist and neuroscientist during Vanderbilt University who’s complicated eels in a past, put himself in harm’s approach in sequence to learn usually how intolerable eels are. In a investigate patrician “Power Transfer to a Human During an Electric Eel’s Shocking Leap,” expelled Thursday by Current Biology, Catania found that even tiny eels can means poignant pain to humans. But thankfully a pain isn’t long-term. And thankfully, Catania is a one holding it for a group here.


This is video from a investigate shows a electric eel leaping in genuine time. Fast, nonetheless painful! (Credit: Catania, Power Transfer to a Human during an Electric Eel’s Shocking Leap, Current Biology, 2017)

Shock Me Like an Electric Eel

Catania used a rather tiny eel, measuring in during 40 cm long, from a internal fish store for this study. The electric eel was afterwards placed in a custom-made Plexiglas aquarium with H2O during between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius.

Even nonetheless a eel was small, it delivered electrical currents that appearance during 40-50 milliamps (mA).

“Although 40-50 mA might not seem like most electrical current, it is distant above a levels customarily used to investigate pain and reflexive withdrawal reflexes. Most studies of withdrawal reflexes in humans kindle with transcutaneous currents in a 5-10 mA range,” Catania writes in a study. Other animals like horses and dogs have pain thresholds reduce than a human, so they would feel good pain from an electric eel, too.

Almost each time he was shocked, Catania involuntarily private his arm from a tank. He says it feels identical to when we hold an electric blockade on a farm.

“I was astounded by how absolute even a tiny electric eel could be,” Catania wrote in an email to Discover. “They are extraordinary animals that have developed not usually a absolute electrical discharge, nonetheless behaviors for delivering a electricity efficiently.  They are some of a beginning electricians.”


This is a same video from a study, nonetheless is slowed to 100 frames per second. The red corresponds with high-voltage discharge. (Credit: Catania, Power Transfer to a Human during an Electric Eel’s Shocking Leap, Current Biology, 2017)

All measurements were taken during a rise of a eel’s high-voltage discharge. A handle joining to a palm cover totalled a stream using by Catania’s arm.

While we don’t have a petrify answer as to because electric eels burst during threats, these formula advise it’s to means heated nonetheless brief pain. If we see an eel, it’s best to evacuate a area or you’re during risk of experiencing a electric eel leap.

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Posted by on Sep 15 2017. Filed under Living World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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