4 Fun Facts about Sauron Butterflies: The New ‘Ring-Bearers’ of the Amazon Rainforest

Sauron butterflies belong to a group called Euptychiina in the southwest Amazon rainforest. Sauron is the main antagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, seeking to conquer Middle-earth with his army of orcs and his all-seeing eye. In a twist likely to make Tolkien fans flutter, an international team of scientists has identified a novel genus of butterflies bearing an uncanny resemblance to the infamous villain from the Lord of the Rings series. They named the entire group of butterflies after him in a paper published in May 2023. Here are some essential trivia facts about them.

1. Epic Journey to Uncover the ‘Ring-Bearers’

Sauron Butterflies
Sauron Butterflies. Image: Systematic Entomology – Wiley Online Library

Over a decade of research and DNA sequencing of over 400 butterfly species led to the fascinating discovery of Sauron butterflies. These butterflies, with dark eyespots on their orange wings, were aptly named “Saurona” after the sinister Sauron’s all-seeing eye, haunting Middle-earth inhabitants.

2. The New ‘Dark Lord’ of the Amazon Rainforest

Saurona butterflies belong to a group called Euptychiina, flourishing in the lush, magical realm of the southwest Amazon rainforest. The team named two species in the newly discovered genus: Saurona triangula and Saurona aurigera, hinting there could be more lurking in the shadows.

3. A Name to Rule Them All

The scientists hope this unusual name will echo throughout the halls of research and conservation, inspiring more efforts to protect these unique creatures. After all, who wouldn’t want to save the ‘Dark Lord’ from extinction?

4. The Fellowship of the Species

Sauron joins an illustrious list of Lord of the Rings characters that have inspired species names, rubbing shoulders with Gandalf, Gollum, and Bilbo. Apart from the newly crowned butterflies, Sauron is also the chosen name for a dung beetle, a frog, a dinosaur, and even a galaxy. Quite the diverse empire for the erstwhile Lord of the Rings!

News Trivia Quiz Time

Now that you know all the facts about the Sauron butterflies, how about a news quiz?


We cross-checked our Sauron Butterflies facts with the web’s leading news outlets. Here are some of the articles we read for this post.