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New stink bug named after Tolkien dragon

A newly-discovered species of stink bug discovered in South America has been named after J.R.R. Tolkien’s dragon Ancalagon.

The team from North Dakota State University’s Systematic Entomology Laboratory already has form in this regard, having recently named another beetle after Smaug, the antagonist in The Hobbit. This bug was so named due to its large size and wing coloration that makes me it look like a “bad guy”. PhD student Eduardo Faúndez said:

Looking for a name that alludes to the size of our bug — maybe the funnest part of working in a lab — we remembered that we named Planois smaug for being large, but this one was way larger! So, the following question came up: Is there a dragon larger than Smaug? And the answer was yes, there is one especially large dragon: Ancalagon the Black.

Although not as famous as Smaug, Ancalagon was described as being enormous, and is the largest dragon that ever existed in Tolkien’s Universe. Ancalagon was definitely big enough for our bug, and he also is black and terrifying. Our bug matched this last part too.

The name was chosen by lead researcher Mariom Carvajal who said that the bug is “perfectly and elegantly black-colored, with acute terminations that make him look like a bad guy, and with the perfect touch of ‘reddish thunders’ crossing the middle part of its forewings.”

Original story: Entymology Today

About the Author: Shaun Gunner
Shaun is the Chair of The Tolkien Society. First elected in 2013, Shaun has overseen the Society's expansion from 600 to 3,500 members. Shaun regularly speaks about adaptations of Tolkien's works and the future of Tolkien scholarship whilst passionately believing the Society needs to reach out to new audiences. In his spare time he can be found playing video games and Lego, or on Twitter. He also chairs another charity, Mankind, and is a local councillor.