A previously undiscovered species of electric eel which delivers a shock with more than three times the voltage of a domestic plug socket has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest.
The enormous 2.5 metre eel has been named the Electrophorus voltai after Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist who invented the battery.
The animal, a type of knifefish, can discharge an electric shock reaching as high as 860 volts, the most powerful of any animal known to science.
The research by a team from the São Paulo Research Foundation, comprising scientists from the Smithsonian Institute and National Geographic Society, also revealed a further distinct species of electric eel – bringing the planet’s recognised electric eel species up from one, to three.
“It’s quite literally shocking, when you discover new diversity in such an eye-catching fish first described 250 years ago,” lead author of the research paper, Carlos David de Santana, from the US National Museum of Natural History told the New York Times.