A new study conducted by researchers at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has discovered two new electric eel species in the Amazon rainforest. Interestingly, one among these electric eels named 'Electrophorus voltai' is so powerful, and it is capable of discharging 850 volts of electricity.
It should be noted that the maximum volt that can be generated by the known electric eel species 'Electrophorus electricus' is just 650 volts. The study report published in journal Nature Communications revealed that these newly discovered electric eels can grow up to eight feet in length. Researchers also noted that this new discovery from the Amazon rainforests indicates the fact that humans are yet to explore this area which is completely loaded with a wide variety of living forms.
"They're really conspicuous. 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?" said David de Santana, a research associate at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History who led the study in a recent statement.
Until now, scientists believed that there is only one electric eel species that usually lives in swamps, streams, creeks and rivers across South America. But now, with the discovery of two more species, scientists revealed that eels actually belong to three different species.
Even though all these three species look one and the same externally, scientists found that they have different genetic material, unique skull shapes, and different levels of voltage production.
The research team also noted that these three species began to evolve from a common ancestor around 7.1 million years ago. It should be noted that there are more than 250 species of fishes that have the capability to generate electricity, but it is only an electric eel that uses this electricity for hunting and self-defence.