This undated photo provided by researchers in September 2019 shows an Electrophorus voltai, one of two newly discovered electric eel species in Brazil's Xingu River. The eel can deliver a jolt of 860 volts of electricity.
A new electric eel discovered in the Amazon can deliver a massive jolt of 860 volts of electricity much greater than the 650 volts previously measured and the strongest of any animal.
"Eight hundred and sixty volts is an incredible output of electricity for an animal. Our electric plug points are 110 volts," study co-author Casey Dillman, curator of fishes, amphibians and reptiles at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates, said in a news release. It may not be a big enough jolt to kill a healthy human, but it's a strong jolt.
Scientists named the new eel Electrophorus voltai after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who invented the electric battery, and was one of two new species found during the research project, according to The New York Times.
“It’s quite literally shocking, when you discover new diversity in such an eye-catching fish first described 250 years ago,” said ichthyologist Carlos David de Santana, who discovered a new species of electric eel https://t.co/MTYAD4qW3F— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 11, 2019
An international team of scientists wanted to find out if just one species of electric eel existed in the entire Amazon basin, which was the common belief for the past 250 years.
Researchers said the finding, which was reported Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, underscores the rich biodiversity in the Amazon basin yet to be discovered and the need to protect the rainforest.
"In spite of all human impact on the Amazon rainforest in the last 50 years, we can still discover giant fishes like the two new species of electric eels," lead researcher Carlos David de Santana, a zoologist working with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said, according to The Guardian.
The research "indicates that an enormous amount of species are waiting to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest, many of which may harbor cures for diseases or inspire technological innovations," de Santana said.
The electric eel can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh almost 45 pounds.