Scientists around the world are obsessed with naming new and recently discovered species after The Lord of the Rings characters.

This week, researchers opted to name a new species of Catfish after Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings; however, the scientific communities’ obsession with naming things after series’ characters goes far beyond your wildest imagination.

Frodo lays on his back as the ring falls towards his hand
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring/New Line/Wing Nut/Warner Bros. Entertainment YouTube channel

Scientists name a new Catfish after Bilbo Baggins

On July 31, a new scientific study was published in the Ichthyology and Herpetology journal, released on the BioOne Digital Library by researchers from Randolph-Macon College (Virginia), The National Museum of Natural History (Washington), and the NRF South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (Makhanda).

The study revealed that two new species of Suckermouth Catfishes had been discovered in the Upper Guinean Forest streams of West Africa; one of which is said to ‘resemble’ the main character of J. R. R. Tolkien’s iconic The Lord of the Rings, namely Frodo Baggins, with its larger eyes, longer whiskers, and fewer teeth compared to its sister species.

In accordance with being fans of Tolkien’s work, this specific Catfish was said to be “another diminutive traveler”, but distinct from its sister species some 3000 miles away.

The researchers noted that this was “an incredible journey for such a small” fish; also similar to that of the journey Frodo took from The Shire to Mordor in The Lord of the Rings.

Ultimately, the scientific name for this new species of Catfish is now…Chiloglanis frodobagginsi.

Whilst curious to all Lord of the Rings movies and book fans, it’s certainly not the first time that scientists have named something after one of its characters.

Scientists are obsessed with LOTR naming patterns

In truth, scientists and researchers from around the world have been naming various things after characters and places from The Lord of the Rings for decades.

From the field of astronomy:

There was a particular Lord of the Rings obsession when it came to naming Titan’s (Saturn’s largest moon) various mountains and hills. On Titan, you can find ‘Mount Doom’, ‘Misty Mountains’, and the ‘Mountains of Moria’ as well as a series of large hills named after Arwen, Bilbo, Faramir, and Gandalf.

Easily the largest concentration of LOTR-themed names given by scientists has come from the world of fauna and flora, including:

From Middle-earth to just plain old regular Earth; fans can also find three mountains in British Columbia called Mount Shadowfax, Mount Gandalf, and Mount Aragorn. There are also various seamounts in the North Atlantic Ocean named after locations from Middle-earth and even a seamount called the ‘Eye of Sauron’ in the Indian Ocean.

Whilst non-Lord of the Rings fans may roll their eyes at these rather nerdy names, it does provide a bit of fun to what can be a rather mundane process of scientific naming.

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