Discovered electric eel species delivers most powerful shock

  • Friday 13, September 2019 02:04 PM
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: Scientists have found a new species of electric eel that can deliver electrical jolts greater than any other known animal.
A new study published in Nature Communications details the discovery of two new electric eel species living in the Amazon basin.

Electric eels are actually a type of knifefish with an eel-like appearance. They can grow to be around seven to eight feet long.

The scientists involved in the study analyzed 107 samples of electric eels and found three species with separate genetic material and different skull shapes but similar external features.

Previously, it was believed that the Amazon basin was home to a single species of electric eel.

One of the newly discovered species, Electrophorus voltai, can discharge up to 860 volts of electricity — much more than the 650 volts generated by the previously known species Electrophorus electricus.

Electrophorus varii, the other newly identified species, can produce up to 572 volts.

Other kinds of fish can generate electric fields, which they use to navigate waters and to communicate. Only electric eels use their electricity for hunting and self-defense, according to a news release by the Smithsonian.

Researchers believe Electrophorus voltai may have adapted to produce higher electrical power due to the poor conductivity of the highland waters where the species resides.