Scientists have named a newly discovered species of butterfly after the villain Sauron from the Lord of the Rings fantasy book series. The reason for this is the striking pattern with black rings on a yellow background on the wings of the animals, as reported by the British news agency PA, citing a statement from the Natural History Museum in London. The rings are thus similar to the all-seeing Eye of Sauron from the books by J.R.R. tolkien
"Saurona": Only two species known
So far, only two species of butterflies known as "Saurona" are known: Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera. The researchers involved in the discovery of the animals assume that there are other species that have not yet been described. In addition to differences in appearance, they also analyzed the DNA of the animals.
"Giving these butterflies an unusual name helps draw attention to this under-recognized group," Butterfly Curator Blanca Huertas of the Natural History Museum said, according to the PA release.
The description of the butterflies, now known as Saurona, is part of a larger international research project that has examined 400 species. In addition to experts from the Natural History Museum in London, scientists from Harvard University, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig were also involved. The results are to be published in the journal "Systematic Entomology".
In addition to butterflies, there is already a dung beetle, a frog and a dinosaur named after Sauron.