Scientists Find New Eel Species That Can Discharge 860 Volts of Electricity

Scientists Find New Eel Species That Can Discharge 860 Volts of Electricity

 

A species of electric eel that was recently discovered in the Amazon basin can deliver a record-setting jolt of 860 volts of electricity, CNN reports.

Researchers say the Electrophorus voltai’s shock is over 200 volts stronger than the previous known eel record of 650 volts.

These electric eels are actually fish that likely descended from eels, and resemble them. They can grow up to eight feet long, and scientists were excited to recently discover two previously unknown species in the Amazon rainforest.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History researcher David de Santana said “If you can discover a new eight-foot-long fish after 250 years of scientific exploration, can you imagine what remains to be discovered in that region?”

Santana said the strength of the eels conductivity has to do with its adaptation to the water in the basin, which does not conduct electricity well, spurring the species’ voltage to strengthen as it evolved over time. These eels are the only known fish to use electricity for hunting and defense.

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