Eel Research: Electrophorus voltai

L. Sousa
January 14, 2021
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Eel swimming in water
L. Sousa

Underwater photos of Volta’s electric eel (Electrophorus voltai), the species of electric eel recently discovered by researchers to hunt in groups. A team of scientists describe this novel behavior in the Jan. 14 issue of the journal Ecology and Evolution. The findings overturn the idea that these serpentine fish are exclusively solitary predators and open the door to new questions about how these little-understood fish live.

This new paper is the latest in a string of revelations about the mysterious lives of South America’s electric fishes. Just last year, scientists tripled the number of known species of electric eels, which had stood at one for roughly 250 years.

One of the new species of electric eel presented in the 2019 paper, Volta’s electric eel, can reach lengths of up to 8 feet and is capable of producing 860-volt electric shocks—the strongest electric discharge of any animal on Earth and 210 volts higher than the previous record.

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