By Sarah Begley
December 5, 2014

In the battle of electric eel vs. prey, it turns out electric eels have an even greater advantage than we thought.

A new study published in the journal Science reveals the mechanics of the eel’s electric discharge, showing how the predators use this biological weapon to “remotely control their target.”

When an eel is pursuing a fish and doesn’t want it to get away it can emit an electric charge from its organs that stuns its victim, according to research by Vanderbilt University’s Kenneth Catania. The elongated fish uses “high-frequency volleys to induce immobilizing whole-body muscle contraction.”

MORE: The Top 10 New Species of 2014

And when an eel is looking for prey and cannot find any, it uses a different tactic: the eel releases electricity in two or three batches, which actually causes nearby fish to twitch, revealing their hiding place.

It’s an electric eel’s world and tiny fish are just living in it.

Read next: And Then Here’s an Owl Going for a Swim in Lake Michigan

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