50 years ago, eels’ navigation skills electrified scientists

Does the eel use electric fields to navigate?Science News, June 24, 1972

Many species of ocean fish [such as American eels] migrate over large distances. Some of them do so with such extreme accuracy that they can come thousands of miles to return to the stream or area where they were born. Naturalists naturally wonder how they do it. One of the suggestions is that they use electricity.


It’s still a mystery how the American eel (Anguilla rostrata) navigates to its breeding grounds. But a growing body of evidence has shifted focus from electricity to magnetic fields. Experiments suggest that the American eel’s European

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