Electrophorus voltai

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Electrophorus voltai
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gymnotiformes
Family: Gymnotidae
Genus: Electrophorus
E. voltai
Binomial name
Electrophorus voltai

Electrophorus voltai is a species of electric eel found in South America. It is the strongest known bioelectricity generator in nature.[2][3]


It was previously classified within Electrophorus electricus when that species was considered the only one in the genus Electrophorus, but a 2019 analysis described it and E. varii as distinct species based on both their deep genetic divergences and differences in the voltage produced by each species. It is thought to have diverged from its sister species E. electricus during the Pliocene. It is named in honor of the physicist Alessandro Volta, who is widely credited as the creator of the electric battery.[3]


It inhabits upland habitats, primarily north-flowing rivers of the Brazilian Shield, but also some south-flowing rivers of the Guiana Shield. In some streams of the Guiana Shield, it is sympatric with E. varii.[2][4]


It closely resembles E. electricus but differs in skull morphology, including having a depressed skull and a wide head. It has a maximum voltage of 860 volts, making it not only the strongest bioelectricity generator of the three electric eel species, but also of any animal.[3] Males get larger than females by about 35 cm (14 in).


A 2021 study reported the first known occurrence of pack hunting by electric eels in a population of E. voltai at the mouth of the Iriri River in Brazil.[5]


  1. ^ Lyons, T.J. (2021). "Electrophorus voltai". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021: e.T204715926A204826094. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T204715926A204826094.en.
  2. ^ a b "Electrophorus voltai". www.fishbase.se. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  3. ^ a b c de Santana, C. David; Crampton, William G. R.; Dillman, Casey B.; Frederico, Renata G.; Sabaj, Mark H.; Covain, Raphaël; Ready, Jonathan; Zuanon, Jansen; de Oliveira, Renildo R.; Mendes-Júnior, Raimundo N.; Bastos, Douglas A. (2019-09-10). "Unexpected species diversity in electric eels with a description of the strongest living bioelectricity generator". Nature Communications. 10 (1): 4000. Bibcode:2019NatCo..10.4000D. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11690-z. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 6736962. PMID 31506444.
  4. ^ "Two New Species of Electric Eels Discovered | Sci-News.com". Breaking Science News | Sci-News.com. 13 September 2019. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  5. ^ Bastos, Douglas A.; Zuanon, Jansen; Py-Daniel, Lúcia Rapp; Santana, Carlos David de (2021). "Social predation in electric eels". Ecology and Evolution. 11 (3): 1088–1092. doi:10.1002/ece3.7121. ISSN 2045-7758. PMC 7863634. PMID 33598115.