Scientists have named a new group of butterflies after the character Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings”, writes CNN. Experts chose to name the species this way because the black rings on the insect’s orange wings reminded them of the character’s all-seeing eye.
The Natural History Museum in London hopes that this unusual name will draw attention to the species and contribute to the intensification of research. “Saurona triangular” and “Saurona aurigera” are the first members of the group, but they expect many other species to join them. The name was chosen by Blanca Heurtas, curator of butterflies at the museum, a member of an international team that described the new genus in an article published in the scientific journal Systematic Entomology.
A group of 30 scientists from around the world spent a decade studying butterfly species. The experts analyzed more than 400 different types of butterflies and used DNA science to identify the differences between them at the genetic level as well as in appearance.
“Saurona triangula” and “Saurona aurigera” are not the first creatures to bear Sauron’s name. A dung beetle, a frog and a dinosaur were named after the ruler of Mordor. The team also discovered another genus of butterfly, which Huertas named Argenteria, meaning “silver mine,” because of the silvery scales on its wings.
The use of character names in science is now common practice. For example, the “Eye of Sauron” has been used as a nickname for several astronomical objects, including distant galaxies, but also for the star system HR 4796A, and has even been used to name an ancient submarine volcano discovered near Christmas Island in Indian Ocean.
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