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Flickr Photo Leads To New Insect Discovery

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the good-excuse-for-stalkers dept.

Social Networks 36

rhettb writes "Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of lacewing insect after stumbling upon a series of photos posted on Flickr, according to a paper published in the journal ZooKeys. Entomologist Shaun Winterton first found evidence of the species when he randomly stumbled upon a set of photos posted by Hock Ping Guek, a Malaysian photographer. Winterton recognized the insect as a potentially new species, but needed to collect field specimen in order to formally describe it. About a year later, an individual was collected at the same site, enabling Winterton to write up the description in ZooKeys. Hock is a co-author on the paper."

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36 comments

Pics or it never happened. (4, Funny)

weave (48069) | about 2 years ago | (#40935081)

Oh wait, never mind.

Re:Pics or it never happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40935785)

Looks photoshopped! :)

Re:Pics or it never happened. (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#40936715)

Yeah, look at the field specimen, the shadows are all wrong...

Re:Pics or it never happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40937553)

Yahoo!

Tasty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40935101)

But is it tasty?

Re:Tasty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40935193)

But is it tasty?

Ask Bear Grylls :)

Re:Tasty? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40936491)

Many rare and interesting [nationalgeographic.com] animals are tasty.

oblig xkcd (0)

davek (18465) | about 2 years ago | (#40935155)

Dark spots on wings ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40935387)

... look like eye markings*. To make birds and other potential predators think something is staring at them. It would be nice to see a top view of this bug to confirm my suspicion.

*Also a good idea on the back of a cap when hiking around my cabin where cougars like to sneak up on people.

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#40935941)

That's brilliant! /me adds eyespots onto my backpack.

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40936359)

Works great, except for the critters that have a craving for eyeballs.

They're better than olives!

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (1)

kdogg73 (771674) | about 2 years ago | (#40936367)

The spot(s) look like a spider. If consistent, it would be a cool marking drawn by evolution to protect itself.

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40937385)

Duh, if you read the link that is a dead bug carcass placed on the back of the lacewing on purpose.

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40940431)

You mean cougars like those older women that like to prey on younger men? (I saw it on th'internet). I think you might need more than eyes on the back of your cap...

Re:Dark spots on wings ... (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#40943451)

Hey, this is /. If predatory, middle-aged women are chasing you, you're doing better than most of us!

Watch out! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40935455)

Re:Watch out! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40940465)

I thought you meant something about a man, eating crickets. Man-eating crickets; much more interesting!

To be a new species (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 2 years ago | (#40935883)

... it must not be able to interbreed with the currently known species.

How did these "scientists" determine what it can and what it cannot interbreed with just from a photo?

Given that a giant mastiff and a miniture chihuahua are both of the species /canis lupus familiaris/, appearance is particularly feeble evidence.

Re:To be a new species (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40936029)

How did these "scientists" determine what it can and what it cannot interbreed with just from a photo?

There is another photo stream on Tumblr of the insect engaging in purely recreational, non-procreational sex with members of other lacewing species.

Re:To be a new species (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#40943467)

How does one determine whether it's "recreational intercourse," or just "confused intercourse?" Where's Samantha Wright when we need her?

Re:To be a new species (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938033)

Defining something as its own species gets a lot more complicated than just checking if it can breed with other things. There are questions of if it normally breeds with the other species, and if the result is fertile, and if something else blocks them from breeding, and if there is some sort of ring species like thing going on. Even with animals as common as sea gulls can be a real mess when figuring out the boundary between species. There are many different varieties of animals that have on going arguments about whether they are different species or subspecies.

Like usual, in this case early categorization is done visually. Typically, but not always, critters that look different in nature tend to be different species for a few different reasons. Some researcher down the line can clarify it with further research.

Re:To be a new species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939059)

Like usual, in this case early categorization is done visually. Typically, but not always, critters that look different in nature tend to be different species for a few different reasons. Some researcher down the line can clarify it with further research.

Like niggers and honkies? Oh wait, some people DID use to claim that...

Frankly, it seems there's a LOT more species->subspecies reclassifications than vice versa -- suggesting our early categorization has a systemic bias.

Re:To be a new species (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941389)

suggesting our early categorization has a systemic bias

Yeah, one of the biggest such systematic biases of the past goes by the name of lack-of-genetics.

Re:To be a new species (2)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 2 years ago | (#40940627)

There is no one simple definition of species and being able or unable to interbreed would require a lot of time to confirm and is impractical with most non-domesticated animals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_problem [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species#Difficulty_of_defining_.22species.22_and_identifying_particular_species [wikipedia.org]

I'm no biologist, but with regard to insects they probably mostly judge based on appearance. The cases where appearance is not enough to determine are probably fairly rare.

abc (4, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40936369)

"Scientists are eager to find the species, known only from Facebook pictures for its distinctive bright green body and lacey wings, which vaguely spell oit the letters 'p', 'w', 'n', and 'd'."

got a link to his flickr account? (1)

treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#40936599)

could not find searching his name or green lacewing...

Re:got a link to his flickr account? (1)

Christopher Fritz (1550669) | about 2 years ago | (#40944217)

One of the photos [flickr.com] on his Flickr account.

His blog post [blogspot.com] about this one and others.

Thought provoking (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#40937017)

Wouldn't it be interesting to have a computer vision system advanced enough to comb through every digital image it could find anywhere including video stills, the internet, usenet, what have you and be able to recognize discrete objects then put them in a reverse sorted list starting with "1" objects that only showed up once in any photograph ever and then to "2" and so forth. I bet some fascinating discoveries could be made.

randomly stumbled across? (1, Funny)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 2 years ago | (#40937233)

riiiiiiiight. He stumbled across some HOCK pics

Re:randomly stumbled across? (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 2 years ago | (#40937323)

...and not just hock pics, but nice bug hock pics

Many new species are discovered yearly (2)

John Bokma (834313) | about 2 years ago | (#40938407)

While it's funny that this happened via Flickr, many new species are discovered yearly. I live in Mexico for a little over 8 years now and have stumbled upon at least 2 new scorpion species, and maybe as many as 4 the recent years. Discovering is not the hard thing to do, describing is (there seems to be quite a backlog in Mexico regarding describing scorpion species).

Re:Many new species are discovered yearly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40943419)

I'm very intersted in knowing how you know with any amount of certainty that they are new species.

Yahoo! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40940377)

Is relevant again. Must be the behind the scenes work of the ex-Google CEO. Stock prices will soar following this announcement!

More images! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40944691)

Cool to see my images on so many news and science sites. More images of this beautiful lacewing can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orionmystery/sets/72157631001201200/

I prefer organic free range links.. (1)

Bongoots (795869) | about 2 years ago | (#40948419)

Like this one to the Flickr blog post Finding a new species on Flickr [flickr.net] , which even has a link to the actual photo [flickr.com] .

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