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Newly discovered Amazon fish species is named after ‘The Lord of the Rings’ villain for its odd pattern tripscan зеркалоThousands of fish species — about 2,500 of them named — call the Amazon River home, but scientists estimate nearly half of the marine creatures lurking in the massive stretch of water remain undiscovered.While studying piranhas and pacus in an effort to better assess vital fish biodiversity in the 4,000-mile-long (6,400-kilometer-long) river, an international team of researchers has found and identified a new species of pacu, a piranha relative with a plant-based diet and humanlike teeth.Besides its odd pearly whites, the newfound species has striking orange and black markings — including a bold vertical black bar stretching across its flank — that the researchers say resemble the fiery eye symbol for the villain Sauron from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” book and film series. The marks inspired the fish’s name, Myloplus sauron, according to a study published Monday in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology.“Me and the coauthors thought (the name) would be a nice idea — it really looks like the Sauron’s eye,” said study coauthor Victória Pereira, a graduate student in biology at the University of Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil. The researchers hoped the pop culture reference would draw attention to the fish and efforts to protect biodiversity in the Amazon, Pereira added.The eye-catching fish is not the only animal named for Tolkien’s Dark Lord. A genus of butterflies was found in May 2023 with spots that looked like eyes on its wings, reminding researchers of the well-known symbol from the trilogy. There is also a species of tree frog, a dung beetle and a genus of dinosaurs named after the character.

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