Meet Knifefish-A fish that sexually attracts females using electricity


Picture of Knifefish-Sternopygus macrurus


Electrical “Love Song”


The Sternopygus macrurus of the knifefish family is a fish inhabiting some fresh waters of South and Central America.

But they can also be found in some public and private aquariums.

The male fish attracts females by an electrical “love song.”

His small single-frequency discharge of one or two volts can be detected with amplification, a behavioral scientist learned recently.

Related species recognize their own kind by a different kind of electrical discharge.

Though the male uses the same frequency as the female, his signal is different.

One scientist imitated the female’s signal through wires suspended in the water and the male replied with his electronic serenade.

This appears to be the first discovery of sexual use of electricity by a fish.