A species of fish similar to a piranha has been discovered in the Brazilian Amazon. Named “Sauron” after the malevolent entity from “The Lord of the Rings,” this discovery has been confirmed by the British Natural History Museum. Scientists dubbed the species “Myloplus sauron,” inspired by its round shape and long black stripe that evoke the eye of Sauron, the Dark Lord from the renowned fantasy saga by J.R.R. Tolkien. This new species, identified by researchers aiming to expand knowledge of the Amazon River’s fish communities, features teeth similar to those of humans, adapted to its plant-based diet. Despite being closely related to the carnivorous piranha, its diet is notably different.

The scientific community learned of “Myloplus sauron” through a study published on Monday in the journal Neotropical Ichthyology, which focuses on Amazonian piranhas and similar species that are challenging to distinguish due to their changing appearance over their lifetimes.

Rupert Collins, a leading specialist at the Natural History Museum in London, contributed to the description of this new species. “As soon as my colleagues suggested the name for this fish, we knew it was perfect,” he said in a press release. This discovery is believed to be one of many yet to come, as numerous species of Amazonian flora and fauna remain undiscovered. “We know little about many of the animals we share our world with, even basic things like their appearance and habitats,” said Collins. “The Myloplus sauron is found exclusively in the Xingu River basin, a Brazilian tributary of the Amazon River that houses over 600 fish species, including 70 that exist nowhere else in the world. It is estimated that 42% of the fish in the Amazon River are still unknown to science.”

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