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Number 5 Kenneth Catania
About two hundred years ago, Prussian explorer Alexander von Humboldt went to South America. Biologists who came across his observation believed it to be a myth. Then, biologist Kenneth Catania, a researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee made a remarkable discovery. In 2016 he confirmed, what von Humboldt had noted centuries prior, that electric eels are indeed capable of leaping. Catania used a small eel in the experiment but calculated that larger creatures might deliver up to 250 milliamps.
What Is It?
Electrophorus electricus, commonly known as the electric eel, is a South American fish with a cylindrical, elongated body that can grow up to 8 feet long. These organs are made up of thousands of muscle-like cells called electrocytes. They’re lined up in such a way that ion current can flow through them and stacked so that each can activate the other, contributing to a potential difference. It’s similar to the way batteries work inside a flashlight.
Number 4 Remote Control
They can also use electrical current to manipulate the nervous system and muscles. They emit these doublets in areas where they can’t find the exact location of potential meals. The pulses will cause massive twitches in their prey and may remotely activate all the muscles in its body at once, thus making it reveal its location.
Where Is It Located?
Electric eels are freshwater fish found in South America, in the basins of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers. They typically inhabit the murky bottoms of calm or stagnant waters in creeks, floodplains, swamps or coastal plains. They’re also known to display a rather odd breeding behavior. During the dry season, the female will lay its eggs in a nest that the male has made from his saliva. Another little-known aspect about electric eels is that they’re mouth breathers. Their vascularized respiratory system requires oxygen. Every ten minutes or so, the eel will rise to the surface for a breath of air, before returning to the bottom.
Number 3 Brazilian Fisherman
He nervously enters a mud pool with a rope wrapped around his body. They then start dragging him out of the water with the electric eel still attached to him.
Number 2 Coiling Behavior
A viral YouTube clip, which has over 14 million hits, shows what happens when a caiman and an electric eel meet. A Brazilian fisherman had caught the eel and was pulling it out of the water, when the crocodile leapt ashore. By curling its body into a U shape, the eel aligns the positive and negative poles of its electric field. Measurements indicate that through a curling attack an eel can more than double its electrical output.
Refrain from swimming or even fishing in water known for the presence of electric eels. Handling this creature should only be done using materials that aren’t electrically conductive.
Number 1 Electrophorus voltai
As recently as September 2019, the general assumption was that a single electric eel species existed in nature and that its name is Electrophorus electricus. However, after years of exploring the Amazon Rainforest, researcher Carlos David de Santana argues that two more species can be added to the list. These are the proposed Electrophorus varii and Electrophorus voltai. There are some morphological distinctions and DNA differences between them but that’s not the most intriguing part. Named after Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery, its discharge tops out at 860 volts. This exceeds the previously-thought limit of 650.