New Species Discovered from Flickr Images
An entomologist randomly viewing the images noted the distinct pattern of veins in the insect's wings, which sport black markings and two white spots that soon struck to realization that no such specie existed till date.
The delicate green insects with large, lace-like wings that live in a wide variety of habitats, especially tropical forests, mostly feed on flowers, but the larvae are ferocious predators of other insects.
These insect spotted by Shaun Winterton, a researcher with the California State Collection of Arthropods, are most often spotted carrying the dead carcasses of their prey on their backs after killing them using their enormous, sucking tube-like jaws.
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In this study, a beautiful new species of green lacewing in the genusSemachrysa is described from the Malaysian rainforest and the only evidence of this new specie existence was an exquisite series of images posted online in Flickr after the insect was released.
It was introduced to the world in the latest issue of ZooKeys, a scientific journal focused on biodiversity. In keeping with the digital nature of their discovery, Winterton, Guek and Brooks wrote the paper from three different continents using a Google document.
"There's thousands of images a minute uploaded on Flickr," said Shaun. "I think there are many more discoveries forthcoming, particularly as more people are getting out into the field."