Scientists have named a butterfly genus after Sauron, the villain “The Lord of the RingsThis information was informed by the Natural History Museum of London on Sunday.
Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera have bright orange wings with black eye spots, the museum said. The distinctive wing markings remind researchers of the “Eye of Sauron” from author JRR Tolkien’s book series.
“Giving these butterflies an unusual name helps draw attention to this underappreciated group,” said Dr. Blanca Huertas, the museum’s senior curator of butterflies. “It shows that, even within a group of very similar-looking species, you can find beauty in the dullness.”
According to the museum, several other animal species are named after Sauron: a dung beetle, a frog and a dinosaur. “Lord of the Rings” has also inspired species names based on the characters Gandalf and Gollum. As the museum explains, scientists often use names inspired by pop culture to help attract public attention.
Trustee of the Natural History Museum, London.
The butterfly identification team evaluated more than 400 different species of butterflies over more than a decade for their research, which is published in Systematic Entomology. They analyzed the butterflies not only by appearance, but also by DNA sequencing.
The researchers estimate that they have discovered 20% more butterfly species than before their project began. They hope to unveil more in the future. Identifying specific types of butterflies allows for better conservation, Blaka said.
“Some of these species are threatened with extinction, and so there’s a lot to do now that we can give them a name,” Blanca said. “There are also many other groups of butterflies and insects that need attention so they can be better understood and protected.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has previously classified King butterfly as endangered
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