Stunning new video footage captures electric eels in Amazon hunting in groups of over 100 people. The deadly pack crushes and provides a mass of supercharged impacts that blow fish out of the water.
This is the first time such mass hunting has been seen on an electric eel in Volta (Electrophorus voltai), A type of ghost knifefish already known to individually generate the strongest electric shock of all animals.
Video footage described in the journal on January 14th Ecology and evolutionWas captured in a small lake on the banks of the Iriri River in Brazil. “It’s really great to find such behavior in 2.4m, 2.5m eels [around 8 feet] David de Santana, a zoologist and co-author of the new study at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, told Live Science.
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New studies show that mammals routinely collaborate to catch prey, but such behavior is relatively rare in fish. Prior to this discovery, scientists believed that electric eels were lonely predators, usually attacking one fish at a time.
In the newly documented group hunting method, up to 100 electric eels surround a small school of four-sided fish to form a “ball of prey” and graze towards shallow water. Next, some eels (2-10 individuals) spatter from the main group, approaching the ball and giving the impact of supercharged electricity.
The synchronized impact is so powerful that some of the school of fish are blown out of the water and returned to a stunned surface. It then stands still and floats, making it easy to catch predatory eels.
“Individual eels of this kind can generate a high voltage discharge of 860 volts. So, in theory, 10 electric eels can produce 8,600. That’s a lot,” Desantana said. Told. He was shocked many times during his research on fish and said the sensation was strong enough to cause “numbness” in his arms. “It’s a really strong discharge, but the duration is really short,” Desantana said.
However, de Santana has only been shocked by one eel at a time. It is advisable to stay away from the water if you encounter a large group, as up to 10 people can be zapping at a time.
The first observation of this behavior was a “kind of accident,” Desantana said. Douglas Bastos, a zoologist at the National Institute of Amazon Research (INPA) in Brazil, his colleague and lead author of the study, was in the area in 2012 when a herd of electric eels and tetras was shocked by water. I investigated the fish when I encountered it. .. After shooting the first footage, the researchers decided to return to the same location in 2014 to shoot 72 hours of footage. In it, they recorded the action five more times.
Researchers suggest that individual hunting is probably inefficient if eels encounter groups of prey that are paying attention to their existence. Working together helps eels produce stronger discharges that can shock their prey from a greater distance.
The team believes that this behavior is uncommon and is likely to occur only when the conditions are right. “Our first hypothesis is that this behavior actually occurs in prey-rich areas and also in long-term shelters for multiple eels,” said Desantana. It means a lot of fish and a lot of corners and gaps for eels to live in. These conditions are Amazon, He added.
Originally published in Live Science.
Electric eels can supercharge attacks by working together
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