A new group of butterflies has been named after the villain of the Lord of the Rings series.
Scientists have given the new genus the name Saurona after noticing the similarity between the vivid orange wings of the flying insects and the all-seeing eye of Sauron in Oxford author JRR Tolkien’s books.
It is one of several new butterfly groups described by an international team of researchers in a new paper.
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Together with a fellow researcher, senior curator of butterflies at the Natural History Museum Dr Blanca Huertas christened the second genus Argenteria, which translates into English as silver mine, on account of the silver scales on the wings.
Dr Huertas said: “Naming a genus is not something that happens very often, and it’s even more rare to be able to name two at once.
“It was a great privilege to do so, and now means that we can start describing new species that we have uncovered as a result of this research.”
She added: “Giving these butterflies an unusual name helps to draw attention to this underappreciated group.
“It shows that, even among a group of very similar-looking species, you can find beauty among the dullness.”
Although Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera are the first butterflies named after Sauron, a dung beetle, a frog and even a dinosaur have previously been named after the book series baddie.