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World's most powerful electric eel discovered

Posted on Wednesday, 11 September, 2019 | Comment icon 11 comments

You don't want to get too close to one of these. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Steven G. Johnson
A new species of electric eel found in the waters of the Amazon basin is capable of delivering up to 850 volts.
Native to the southern Brazilian Shield region, the new species was identified by researchers from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Sao Paulo's Museum of Zoology.

Named Electrophorus voltai, the eel is capable of delivering a powerful electric shock of up to 850 volts for both offensive and defensive purposes.

For comparison, a hospital defibrillator usually delivers shocks of between 200 and 1,700 volts.
"These fish grow to be seven to eight feet long," said lead researcher David de Santana. "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?"

It is believed that the newly discovered eel evolved the ability to deliver such a high voltage because the waters in the region are less conductive than those found elsewhere.

The species was thought to have diverged from regular electric eels 3.6 million years ago.

Source: | Comments (11)

Tags: Electric Eel, Amazon

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Piney on 10 September, 2019, 15:25
Fred Flintstone's hybrid? 
Comment icon #3 Posted by pallidin on 11 September, 2019, 16:35
This news is both electrifying and shocking. I'm stunned.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Twisted_Caulk on 11 September, 2019, 17:21
Everytime I hear about electric eels I get chilling flashbacks of the Dire Dire Docks water level from Mario 64.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Stiff on 11 September, 2019, 17:48
"the eel is capable of delivering a powerful electric shock of up to 850 volts for both offensive and defensive purposes. For comparison, a hospital defibrillator usually delivers shocks of between 200 and 1,700 volts." Not really much of a comparison is it? 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Herr Falukorv on 11 September, 2019, 18:49
Doesnt matter if its the same voltage.. Is it the same Ampere??  
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 12 September, 2019, 18:35
The amps will kill one, for sure, as you alluded to, but also be aware that high voltage can seriously disrupt the nervous system, even stopping the heart.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Herr Falukorv on 12 September, 2019, 18:37
I am very aware, I work as an electrician
Comment icon #9 Posted by zygote_myles on 19 September, 2019, 20:41
Incredible creatures really. Another wonder of mother natures design. May they continue to live happily in their environs...
Comment icon #10 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 20 September, 2019, 9:58
Even those weaker eels could amount up to 1 amp in their discharge. This one might be up to 30% stronger. Luckily they are not ground animals lol
Comment icon #11 Posted by Twas Brillig on 9 December, 2019, 6:41
FYI, by comparison to the known species of electric eel which can deliver 650 volts.

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