Electric eels (which are actually eel-like fish) are creatures that use their electricity to hunt and in self-defense. Like other electric fish, they also navigate and communicate with the electricity they produce.
E. voltai can download up to 860 volts of electricity, significantly more than the 650 volts generated by E. electricus. This makes the species the strongest known bioelectric generator, and it can be an adaptation to the low conductivity of the highland waters.
It is the result of a new analysis of 107 fish collected in Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname in recent years published in the magazine Nature Communications. Based on genetic comparisons, it has been determined that two groups of electric eels began to evolve in South America approximately 7.1 million years ago.
According to the analysis, 'E. voltai 'and' E. Electricus' diverged about 3.6 million years ago, when the Amazon River changed course, crossed the continent and crossed mountainous regions.
The electrical organs are located in the cranial zone, and consist of three differentiated pairs used for different purposes; They are made up of thousands of nicolitos connected in series. A couple called Sachs organs, produces low voltage discharges, used to detect possible dams and communicate with others; the other two pairs, called hut organs, produce discharges up to 5 times more powerful, with which the eel stuns its potential prey.
It's electric discharge record is important, according to one of the researchers in this study, C. David de Santana, because these eels in particular may have developed unique systems for electrogenesis and, in the case of 'E. voltai ', this system is completely unexplored:
It could really have different enzymes, different compounds that could be used in medicine or could inspire new technologies.