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Stare at this South American fish long enough and you may find yourself relaxing.

Vishal D., a volunteer at the Vancouver Aquarium, says he’s fascinated by the black ghost knifefish’s hypnotic quality. That’s why he chose it for our first Staff Pick of the Month of 2014.

Vishal D. is a volunteer at the Aquarium.

Vishal D. is a volunteer at the Aquarium.

This fish hypnotizes with the wave-like motion of the anal fin on its underside. The rippling of this fin actually propels it forwards, backwards and sideways, unlike many other fishes. It can also hover on the spot.

Vishal says, “This animal is a real beauty. The way it moves just makes me want to stare at it all day.”

It has beauty and a unique sensory ability. Like its close relative the electric eel, it can also produce an electric field, which helps it navigate in murky rivers and flooded forests. Two electric organs that run the length of its body work with several electro-receptors to help it find food and communicate with other black ghost knifefish.

Vishal makes sure to visit these fish whenever he’s at the Aquarium – you can too in the Graham Amazon Gallery.

Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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