The nature never ceases to surprise us, and it has been proved once again. While the Amazon Forest caught world’s attention to the massive disruptive fires, the geographical area has given scientists and researchers a new reason to rejoice.
As reported by The New York Times, the researchers have discovered two new species of electric eels in South America, one of which can deliver a bigger jolt of electricity than any other known animal. The discovery was revealed in a September 10 study, published in Nature Communications.
A 2.5-meter eel was discovered by a team from the São Paulo Research Foundation comprising scientists from the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic Society along with a wide network of researchers. The researchers have named the eel as Electrophorus voltai (E. voltai) after Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist who invented the first battery.
This is because this electric variety of the knife fish family can reportedly discharge an electric shock reaching as high as 860 volts, the most powerful of any animal known to modern science.
Previously the highest known discharge was 650 volts, which is over five times of a standard US wall socket.
As mentioned in the report, the team sought to create a tree of life for South American electric fishes as a means of studying the region’s evolutionary history. They collected 107 eels in four countries and found four differences in their D-N-A, along with physical variants. While 250 species of fish have been found to generate electricity in South America, only electric eels use it to stun prey and for self-protection.
According to the scientists, electric eels possess a specialized nervous system that synchronizes the activity of electricity-producing cells called electrocytes.
The eels use this sophisticated nervous system to detect other fish, disrupt nearby electric signals from other fish and paralyze prey.