Sharks, rays, skates and sawfish, Elasmobranchii, can detect the low frequency electric signals emitted by animals around them. The elasmobranchs’ Ampullae of Lorenzini allow them to sense the world in a completely different way than most other animals, including humans.
“We have discovered that sharks have electric sense only in 1966. That’s not even 50 years ago,” [Associate Professor of Biology Stephen] Kajiura says. “That’s a whole new sense that’s been discovered. It would be like us discovering vision for the first time only 50 years ago…”
“It’s a whole new sense. A whole new way of collecting information about the environment,” he says. “And there is so little work that’s done on this entire sensory system, that I think there is so much cool stuff we can do. Things we don’t even know about yet. Things we haven’t even imagined yet, I think are wide open.”
From KQED and PBS Digital Studios, this is Deep Look: How Do Sharks and Rays Use Electricity to Find Hidden Prey?Next: Watch more from Deep Look and all kinds of ray videos.