DNA research has shown that two unknown eel species have been found in the Amazon Basin, one of which is capable of generating electric shocks up to 860 volts.
Researchers wondered if electric eels could be found throughout the Amazon Basin. There were only slight differences between the individuals found in different parts of South America, which is why they initially thought they were the same species, but then analyzed the DNA of 107 individuals to find three species, Latin names Electrophorus electricus, Electrophorus and Electrophorus varii. Of these, the Electrophorus volts are capable of generating 860 volts of electric shock, making them the world’s most powerful bioelectric generator. The researchers say this is because the conductivity of water in its natural habitat is lower. In addition to hunting and defense, electricity is also used for orientation.
According to the researchers, this discovery also proves that the Amazon Basin’s wildlife is so diverse that it has still not been fully recognized, and highlights why it is important to protect this area from logging, destruction and fire.
Even though humans have been interfering with the order of nature here for at least 50 years, we still find large, previously unknown creatures here, like these two eel species, said zoologist C David de Santana. According to research, there are many individuals still unknown to biologists who may inspire future technical innovations, researchers recall, for example, that the idea of the first electric battery came from electric eels. Researchers are now wondering whether the three different electric eel produce electricity in the same way. This issue can also help to inspire doctors, for example, how to deal with the power supply of health implants within the body without any intervention.