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New bug is named after Tolkien’s dragon

Adding to an already impressive list of animals named after concepts in Tolkien’s works, a recently-discovered bug in Patagonia is to be named ”planois smaug”.

The Chilean bug, a member of the shield bug family, was discovered by Mariom Carvajal, Eduardo Faúndez and Dr David Rider from North Dakota State University. Mariom, an undergraduate student in microbiology, had the honour of naming the discovery:

We called it Planois smaug because the specimens of this new species were ‘sleeping’ in collections for about 60 years, like Tolkiens’s creature. Another factor that contributed to the choosing of this particular name was the large size of the bug. Smaug was also very big, and this bug is the largest of its family in the southern tip of South America. Finally, the place it inhabits — the Cabo de Hornos Biosphere Reserve on Navarino Island — resembles Tolkien’s Middle Earth. [sic]

Original story: Entomology Today. Photo: Eduardo Faúndez.

About the Author: Shaun Gunner

Shaun is the current Chair of The Tolkien Society. Elected in 2013, Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien’s works whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time can be found in the cinema, playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter.