Catania discovered that electric eels act like living batteries, complete with positive poles (the head end) and negative poles (the rear end, or is the tail end?). When the eel's body is submerged in the water, the electric current moves through the eel and into the water.
When an eel jumps up out of the water, however, the electric current must find another route for the electricity to flow. Enter the "predator," who receives a vicious shock.
Catania's discovery is shocking (sorry, couldn't help it) for several reasons, one of the most interesting of which is that this is not the first time we've heard of leaping eels. German scientist Alexander von Humboldt first recounted his experience with leaping electric eels in 1807.
Years passed without any subsequent reports of electric eels displaying this terrifying behavior, and eventually the story was regarded as somewhat of a myth. One biologist even penned an article in TheAtlantic Monthly and claimed that the story was "tommyrot."
(In an important aside, can we bring "tommyrot" back? The money the Kardashians pull in is tommyrot. Do I really have to vote for one of these tommyrot presidential candidates?)
9. Leapin' Lizards (Or Eels)
For the past two centuries, scientists have rolled their eyes at Humboldt's bizarre encounter with electric eels in the Amazon, until Catania recently re-created the spectacle in his laboratory.
If you're worried that your newfound fear of electric eels may put a damper on your beach days this summer, here is some good news ”” electric eels only live in fresh water in South America. So maybe just avoid frolicking in the Amazon.