Scientists discover a fish they name “dracula.” What’s the origin of the word, and does the fish sleep in a coffin?


Scientists recently released a list of new species that were discovered in the Greater Mekong Region, which comprises parts of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China.

One of the more peculiar species on the list is a translucent fish that scientists call “dracula.” The fish actually was first found in 2009, in a fish tank in Britain, but was only discovered in the wild this year.

The literary Dracula was known as “king of the vampires” in Bram Stoker’s novel, published in 1897.

The origin of the name is disputed. But the predominant belief is that “Dracula” was the nickname of Prince Vlad III Dracul of Wallachia (now part of Romania.) The brutal prince was also known as “the Impaler.” It’s said that he oversaw the murder of tens of thousands of rivals, criminals, and other enemies. Take a stab at his preferred method of execution.

(If this sounds scary, consider this: The word “hello” actually originates from danger. Why? Learn the genesis of this everyday word, here.)

Prince Vlad’s father belonged to a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon. This order is supposedly the source of  the name “Dracula,” as it translates as “son of Dracul.”

Let’s get back to the fish.

It is only 1.7 centimeters long. And the “dracula minnow,” like its namesake, does indeed have fangs at the front of each jaw. Danionella dracula has been observed using its bone “fangs” to stab other fishes.

While we’re on the topic of shocking discoveries: Do you know that a new language was recently identified in India? Learn its name here.

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