A hitherto undetected electric eel has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest, which supplies more than three times the voltage of a domestic plug.
The huge 2.5-meter eel was named Electrophore Volts after Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist who invented the battery.
An animal, a kind of knife, can emit an electric shock of up to 860 volts, the most powerful of any animal known to science.
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Research by a São Paulo Research Foundation team of scientists from the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic Society also revealed another different type of electric eel – bringing the species of electric eel recognized on the planet one, three.
"It's quite shocking when you find a new variety in such an attractive fish, first described 250 years ago," lead author of the research paper, Carlos David de Santana, of the US National Museum of Natural History New York Times .
The tremendous strain of the new species was one aspect of this how the team divided what was previously recognized as one species into three separate species.
The use of voltage that can be produced by an animal is first in the taxonomy.
The team also correlates DNA, morphology and environmental data for the animals in question to be classified into three species.
The only known species of electric eel so far is the Electrophorus electricus described by Swedish naturalist Karl Linne in 1766.
In addition to the E. electricus now defined as the species living in the northernmost part of the Amazon region, researchers find enough differences to add two species to the genus: E. varii and E. Voltai.
Professor Naersio Menezes at the Museum of Zoology at the University of São Paulo says: "We used tension as a key criterion for differentiation. This has never been done so far to identify a new species. ”
During field measurements using a voltmeter, researchers register a discharge of 860 volts , the highest found in any animal, for a specimen of E. voltai . The worst shock recorded earlier is 650 volts.
While the tension was high, the team said that due to the low amplitude of the shocks, they were unlikely to be lethal to humans.
In the traditional analogy of understanding electricity measurements, imagine a hose pipe instead of an electrical conductor. Water is electricity and voltage is water pressure – set at a certain level whether the tap is on or off. The amplitude is the speed at which water flows down the hose pipe when the valve is switched on – this is also governed by the resistance measured in ohms – a level equivalent to the size of the hose pipe.