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A New Fish Species Discovered In South America’s Amazon Rainforest Was Named After The Main Villain In The Lord Of The Rings

SL-Photography - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

Thousands of new animal species are still being identified each year. The latest discovery is in the form of a never-before-seen fish that is related to piranhas. Researchers have named it after Sauron, the main antagonist in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The species was found in South America’s Amazon Rainforest, specifically in the Xingu River basin of Brazil.

Scientifically, the fish is known as Myloplus sauron, and it is a type of pacu, which is a group of fish in the Serrasalmidae family that includes piranhas.

Although pacus share many similarities in appearance with piranhas, they lack the sharp teeth that are necessary to eat meat. Instead, they have a primarily plant-based diet.

After completing an analysis of serrasalmids in the region, scientists know of two new pacu species. Previously, they believed there was only one—Myloplus schomburgkii. This fish could be easily identified among the serrasalmids due to the vertical black stripe across the middle of its body.

However, the latest study has revealed that the fish thought to be Myloplus schomburgkii may actually represent two new species—M. sauron and Myloplus aylan. The new species also had a dark-colored vertical stripe across their bodies.

Thanks to DNA testing, the scientists found that Myloplus schomburgkii, M. sauron, and M. aylan are all separate species.

They observed subtle differences in certain characteristics of the fish, such as the shape of the stripe, the shape of the females’ back fin, the number of vertebrae, and more. For so long, their close resemblances to each other have prevented experts from making the distinction.

“Our results reveal the existence of hidden species within Myloplus schomburgkii, a species of Serrasalmidae with wide distribution in the Amazon basin,” said Valéria Machado, the lead author of the study from the Federal University of Amazonas in Brazil.

SL-Photography – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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