This new species of bug was originally discovered on Flickr


Grist

It’s not news that you can discover a lot of stuff on Flickr, if you have safe search turned off and you sort photos by « interestingness. » (Seriously, try it sometime.) But this has to be the first time the photo-sharing site has contributed to finding a new species. Entomologist Shaun Winterton spied this picture of an unfamiliar variety of lacewing on Flickr in May 2011, and a year later it was confirmed as being a never-classified species of insect.

Winterton was pretty sure, when he first saw Guek Hock Ping’s Flickr stream, that the bug in the photo looked different from any lacewing he’d ever studied. He contacted Guek, but the photographer hadn’t captured the insect when he took its portrait in Malaysia. Why would he? As far as he knew, it was just a beautiful bug.

A year later, though, Guek went back to the spot where…

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