New Delhi: Electric eels are known to be pretty evil when it comes to defending themselves their predators, irrespective of human or animal.
Also known as Knifefish, they are famous for serving the electric shock treatment when they feel threatened. However, as long as anyone has known, they never jumped out of the water in attack.
Oh, how wrong were we! A new revelation has come to the fore that can make their defensive actions sound a lot more scarier than people thought.
The report confirms a 200-year-old theory that had been swept under the rug, while being deemed baseless.
Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist and explorer, in 1800, had sworn that he had seen electric eels leap out of the water.
Humboldt, during an expedition in South America, used horses to catch electric eels. However, the moment the horses waded their way into the water, the eels jumped on to the horse's legs, killing two out of the thirty steeds in the process.
His account was immediately dismissed, because eels had never been seen nor were ever believed to possess such skills. Until now.
Kenneth Catania, a biologist from Vanderbilt University, decided to put electric eels to the test, after he came across Humboldt's theory.
All he did was observe the behavior of electric eels inside large tanks. During the observation, it was found that electric eels execute certain behaviors when faced with danger.
His study revealed that eels can actually leap up and electrocute an approaching predator. He calls it the “shocking leap” behaviour, wherein the eels can generate an electric shock of a higher voltage reaching up to 300 volts.
In an interview with Phys.org, Catania explained that in the process of leaping, the eels' chin is directly attached to the target, making the electric current travel through the target.
The farther the eels can get out of the water, the more current they can emanate, so as to attack their own attacker with paramount force.
They yield the maximum amount of power to attack partially submerged land animals that invade their territory, which also allows them to electrocute a much larger portion of the predator's body.
To prove how his discovery supports Humboldt's theory, Catania captured the eels' behaviour in a video.
Have a look!
(Video courtesy: Samnang Sorn)