But recently, electrical or electromagnetic devices that hark back to the head-zapping torpedo fish have come into vogue among the country’s most prominent researchers. Two different kinds of stimulatory devices are now in large-scale clinical trials for possible use in patients with the most severe migraine cases. Many researchers believe that such devices are likely to play a greater role in migraine treatment in the future.
In ancient Rome, patients with unbearable head pain were sometimes treated with jolts from the electricity-producing black torpedo fish, or electric ray.
Valérie Cordonier, “A Micro-Intertextual Approach to Ancient Thought: The Case of the Torpedo Fish from Plato to Galen,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 37:1 (2016), pp. 15–48.
Currently the accepted scientific name for this species is Puntius denisonii. Prior scientific names include: Barbus denisonii, Barbus denisoni, Crossocheilus denisonii, and Labeo denisonii. In their native country of India, they are often referred to as ‘Miss Kerala’. Other common names include: Bleeding Eye Barb, Denison Barb, Denison’s Flying Fox, Red Comet Barb, Red Line Barb, Red Lined Torpedo Fish, Roseline Shark, and Torpedo Barb.
This Barb is an example of what can happen to a species that is wild caught and suddenly becomes in high demand. After being named as one of the top new fish species by Aquarama, the international ornamental fish exhibition, this fish quickly become quite popular. Within a decade, well over half of all ornamental fish exports from India where Denison Barbs. Unfortunately, the result was a significant drop in wild populations due largely to over fishing. Loss of natural habitat as the result of pollution and deforestation has also contributed to the reduction of this species in the wild. Efforts have been made to counter this by instituting periods when collection is not allowed, as well as commercial breeding programs in Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. However, this fish still remains endangered, and is on the red list.