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Electric eel powers Tennessee Aquarium’s Christmas lights, in shocking use of science

An electric eel named Miguel Wattson is shocking visitors at the Tennessee Aquarium by using its blips of electricity to power Christmas lights.

A system connected to his tank allowed the eel’s shocks to power strands of lights on a nearby tree, resulting in rapid succession of blinking lights, according to a news release.

The eel releases the low blips of electricity when it’s trying to find food, aquarist Kimberly Hurt said.

In this undated photo provided by the Tennessee Aquarium, an electric ell named Miguel Wattson lit up a Christmas tree at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. (Thom Benson/Tennessee Aquarium via AP)

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“The bigger flashes are caused by the higher voltage shocks he emits when he’s eating or excited,” she said.

The popular eel has boasted its own Twitter account, with a little help from Tennessee Tech University’s iCube center.

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Miguel shared in the excitement with posts such as “KA-BOOOOOOOM!!!!!” and “Quem não arrisca não petisca!” which translated to, “Those who do not risk do not snack.”

A video posted to the account showed Miguel in its tank and the nearby Christmas lights rapidly sputtering on and off. Officials at the Chattanooga aquarium said they hoped Miguel will spark an appreciation for the fish.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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