By Max Greenhalgh • 07 May 2023 • 9:13
New Butterfly species named after Lord of the Rings villain
Image Credit: Zanastardust, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Scientists have named a new group of butterflies after Lord of the Rings villain Sauron.
Scientists decided on the name Saurona because the black rings on the insect’s orange wings reminded them of the all-seeing eye described in The Lord of the Rings novels.
The Natural History Museum in London hopes the unusual title will draw attention to the species and help generate more research.
Sauron is the primary antagonist, through the forging of the One Ring, of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, where he rules the land of Mordor with the ambition of ruling the whole of Middle-earth
Two species of butterfly have been added to the newly named Saurona genus, Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera.
Dr Blanca Heurtas, the curator of the butterflies at the museum, picked the name.
A group of 30 scientists from around the world have spent a decade studying the butterfly subtribe Euptychiina.
Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera are not the first creatures to be named after Sauron. The villain’s glowing eye has also been referenced in the names of a dung beetle, a frog and a dinosaur.
The group of scientists also found another butterfly genus, which Dr Huertas has named Argenteria, meaning silver mine, after the silver scales on its wings.
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