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New 'Evil Eye' Piranha Named After Tolkien Villain

New 'Evil Eye' Piranha Named After Tolkien Villain


A new herbivorous piranha-like species discovered by scientists in the Brazilian Amazon has been named after J.R.R. Tolkien's greatest villain, Sauron.

The Natural History Museum in the UK announced that scientists have named the creature Miloplus Sauron because its round body and distinctive orange-and-black markings closely resemble Sauron's infamous demon eye.

The new species is one of two that scientists recently named as part of an effort to better understand the fish diversity of the Amazon River. While most piranhas have razor-sharp teeth, this one has human-like teeth adapted to its plant-based diet.

It is closely related to the piranha, but is better known as the pacu, the common name for this herbivorous relative.

Such piranhas have sharp teeth. Pacu's teeth are flat.

The study, published in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology, aims to shed light on Amazonian piranhas and their relatives, which are notoriously difficult to tell apart as their appearance changes throughout their lives.

Lead author Rupert Collins, senior curator of fishes at the Museum of London, explains how the new species was named.

“When a colleague suggested the name for this fish, we immediately knew it was a perfect fit,” he said.

“In particular, the red fins and the orange spots on its body look just like the Eye of Sauron.”

Miloplus sauron is found only in the Xingu River basin, a tributary of the Brazilian Amazon, which is home to more than 600 fish species, over 70 of which are found nowhere else in the world.

More than two-fifths of the fish species that live in the Amazon are thought to be still unknown to science.




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