Electrophorus voltai

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Electrophorus voltai
Lateral view of Electrophorus voltai.png

Electrophorus voltai

Sub-cohort : Ostariophysi
Order : New World Knifefish (Gymnotiformes)
Family : Knife eels (Gymnotidae)
Subfamily : Electrophorinae
Genre : Electric eels ( Electrophorus )
Type : Electrophorus voltai
Scientific name
Electrophorus voltai
de Santana , Wosiacki , Crampton , Sabaj , Dillman , Castro e Castro , Bastos & Vari , 2019

Electrophorus voltai is a species of electric eel ( Electrophorus ) that is found in the southern Amazon basin, in the rivers that drain the Brazilian shield towards the Amazon. The first description of the species appeared in September 2019 after it was discovered that under the name Electrophorus electricus ,introducedby Carl von Linné in 1766, there were three cryptic species that are very similar in appearance, but clearly different genetically. Electrophorus voltai was named in honor of the Italian physicist and founder of the theory of electricity Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). Terra typica is the Rio Ipitinga in the Brazilian state of Pará .


Electrophorus voltai reaches an average length of 130 cm; the longest specimen examined for the first description was 171 cm long. The body height is 4.9 to 7.8% of the total length, the width of the body is 4.2 to 8.3% of the total length. The head length is 8.7 to 11.8% of the total length. The head is oval when viewed from above or below and broad compared to the other two electric eel species , but low compared to that of Electrophorus varii when viewed from the side. The cleithrum , a pair of cover bones in the fish's shoulder girdle, is located between the fifth and sixth vertebrae (between the first and second vertebrae in E. varii ) as in Electrophorus electricus . The long anal fin is supported by 320 to 420 fin rays (325 to 386 in Electrophorus electricus and 320 to 395 in Electrophorus varii ), the pectoral fins have 23 to 31 fin rays (32 to 38 in Electrophorus electricus and 20 to 28 in Electrophorus varii ). The sideline is accompanied by 112 to 146 scales (88 to 101 in Electrophorus electricus and 124 to 186 in Electrophorus varii ). As with Electrophorus electricus , a light band can be seen every now and then along the sides of the body. The highest voltage measured when the electrical organs were discharged was 860 volts . The specimen on which this tension was measured was 122 cm in length.


Electrophorus voltai occurs in the rivers that drain the Brazilian Shield to the north, towards the Amazon. In the species' habitat, the water is usually rich in oxygen with a low conductivity (<30  µScm ). The waters have a rocky bottom, there are rapids and waterfalls.

supporting documents

  1. a b c C. David de Santana, William GR Crampton, Casey B. Dillman, Renata G. Frederico, Mark H. Sabaj, Raphaël Covain, Jonathan Ready, Jansen Zuanon, Renildo R. de Oliveira, Raimundo N. Mendes-Júnior , Douglas A. Bastos, Tulio F. Teixeira, Jan Mol, Willian Ohara, Natália Castro e Castro, Luiz A. Peixoto, Cleusa Nagamachi, Leandro Sousa, Luciano FA Montag, Frank Ribeiro, Joseph C. Waddell, Nivaldo M. Piorsky, Richard P. Vari & Wolmar B. Wosiacki: Unexpected species diversity in electric eels with a description of the strongest living bioelectricity generator. Nature Communications, Volume 10, Article number: 4000 (2019), doi: 10.1038 / s41467-019-11690-z