There was a really cool story in the news today…someone discovered a new species of lacewing via the photo sharing website, Flickr!
A Malaysian photographer, Guek Hock Ping, took a picture of a beautiful lacewing and posted it on his Flickr site. An entomologist on the other side of the world, Shuan Winterton, noticed the photo and contacted the photographer, who collected a specimen for him a year later.
It was just officially declared a new species!
That means that everyday naturalists really can find new species. And given that some scientists think we have identified fewer than a quarter of all insect species on Earth, it is an exciting prospect. Today’s world of incredible digital photography and instantaneous sharing of information may take taxonomy to a whole new level.
Here’s a quote from the article: “The moral of the story? The world is full of potential naturalists, Winterton says. More and more people using high-quality cameras that capture the kind of detail scientists need for identification, and they are sharing these photos online.”
Here’s a link to the NPR news story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2012/08/11/158570034/a-new-species-discovered-on-flickr