Coolest story of the year so far!
Chattanooga, Tennessee's Tennessee Aquarium is making appropriate use of one of its most popular residents: an electric eel named Miguel Wattson. Miguel is an electric eel that lives in the Rivers of the World gallery in the aquarium. He tweets from his verified Twitter account, which has at this time more than 38,000 followers. This year, he's also earning his keep by providing the power for one of the aquarium's Christmas trees. Joey Turnipseed is the audiovisual production specialist at the aquarium and he attached sensors to Miguel's tank. The sensors in turn harness Miguel's natural electric discharge via a set of speakers.
Turnipseed (which also sounds like someone who might be a fun dude), explained in a statement: "The speakers convert the discharge into the sound you hear and the festively flashing lights." Another aquarium employee further clarified: "The rapid, dim blinking of the lights is caused by the constant, low-voltage blips of electricity he releases when he's trying to find food," explained Aquarist Kimberly Hurt . "The bigger flashes are caused by the higher voltage shocks he emits when he's eating or excited."
Just by exploring and searching for food, an electric eel will typically emit only 10 volts of electricity, the aquarium said. However, that doesn't even touch their actual capability. Electric eels are actually capable of generating a lot of electricity: up to 800 volts. However, they will only emit that high of a discharge if they're defending themselves or to stun the prey that they hope will be their dinner. Three of an electric eel's organs are made up of electrocytes. Electrocytes are cells that generate electricity.
Although they're called electric eels, these unique creatures are actually a type of fish called a knifefish. They also closely resemble carp. Watch this stunning video footage below.