New Species Found on FlickrCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 21, 2012 06:51PM
Another discovery can be placed on the list of those that were unexpected and unintentional. An amateur photographer (Hock Ping Guek, who is the second author of the research paper) posted some of his pictures from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Flickr, which researchers were later flipping through. When one of them saw the attached image, they noted its unique pattern of veins in the wings, along with the black and white markings. By the sheer coincidence of the researchers looking at that picture, a new insect species was discovered: Semachrysa jade.
Unfortunately the initial discovery could not be reported at the time, because the researchers did not have a specimen to study and confirm it is a new species. Thankfully the photographer eventually returned to where he took the original picture, and captured one of the insects for the researchers.
As unlikely as this happening again may appear, it is possible this method of discovery will become more common in the future. The general public has been finding more and more new species recently, often without knowing it, but thanks to digital photography, they can upload their pictures to the Internet, where researchers find them and recognize the value of the images. Then it is a matter of collecting a specimen, for formal documentation.