Green Guide

African electric fish exchange ‘shocks’ to signal mating intentions! Study

female african electric fish 9

Electric shocks, always known to be a painful and fearful experience, now have been given a positive tag – it can be used to attract your partner!

It has been known that various male fish use certain electric pulses during aggressive encounters. But, surprisingly, it has recently been discovered that the electric fish exchange bursts of electrical impulses for satisfying their amorous intentions or attracting their partners for mating.

Some African electric fish – the Brienomyrus brachyistius – are found to possess this characteristic; a behavior similar to the courtship duets of songbirds, as related by the researchers of the study.

These fish produce weak electrical fields in their tails by using certain specialized organs.

But things are not as clear as it should have been until now, the love life of electric fish remaining largely a private matter. The problem lies with the fact that breeding the finicky fish in the lab is not that easy.

Separating out the pulses from more than one fish is also not that easy! Thus, to observe the fish’s both the electrical signaling and physical behavior, the researchers used ‘recording equipment’ and ‘custom software’.

What came up as a surprise to them is the use of the fish’s electrical impulses during courtship! Should we call it an exemplary of – old habits dying hard? — Never mind what the application may be!


Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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