Budding entomologists might want to think about casting aside butterfly net and pooter. A paper published in ZooKeys last week reports the discovery of a new species of lacewing, Semachrysa jade. But the unusual thing about this new insect was that it was first spotted not in the field but on Flickr. Insect biosystematist Shaun Winterton of the California Department of Food & Agriculture was unable to identify the lacewing in a photo on Hock Ping Guek’s photostream. A more thorough examination of the images by professional taxonomists determined that it was indeed a new species. Of course, the scientific legwork can’t be dispensed with entirely: specimens of the new species were subsequently found in a Malaysian rainforest.
Image: Hock Ping Guek / ZooKeys