Electric Eels’ shocking behaviorElectric Eels’ shocking behaviorElectric Eels’ shocking behavior

Electric Eels’ shocking behavior

The electric eels’ shocking behavior graphic story was included in the September 2020 issue of National Geographic magazine. Featuring the research of Dr. David Santana from the Smithsonian Institution and Dr. Douglas Bastos from the National Institute of Amazonian Research, the graphic revealed for the first time to non-experts fascinating information about these animals’ evolution, distribution, hunting behavior, and anatomy. In a previous collaboration with the National Zoo, I had worked with the same subject, creating illustrations and animations for the Electric Fishes Demonstration Lab.

Eighty percent of the body of the eels is composed of electric organs with thousands of electric cells that discharge currents, capable of stunning their prey and defend them from predators. This application of electricity is exclusive to electric eels as other electric fishes use it only for navigation and communication. See the online version of this graphic (which may be behind a firewall), complete with mesmerizing videos of large groups of eels discharging high voltage signals to feed on little fish prey.