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Armchair Darwinians discover new insect species on Flickr

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
August 13, 2012
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Entomologist Shaun Winterton has discovered a new species of Malaysian Lacewing from the comfort of his computer. Idly browsing Flickr, he came across Guek "Kurt" Hock Ping's snap of an insect taken while hiking in the Malaysian jungle, which bore an unfamiliar black-and-blue pattern along its wings. When his colleagues couldn't identify the markings, he realized he was staring at a new species and hurriedly emailed the photographer -- who, a year later, had captured one of the elusive creatures. Sent to Simon Brooks at the Natural History Museum, the suspicion was confirmed. The armchair explorer named it Semachrysa jade after his daughter and promptly used Google Docs to co-author the paper with Guek and Brooks on opposite ends of the world. If your mom complains that you're spending too much time on your computer, you can tell her you're searching for strange life-forms and old civilizations with a straight face.

[Image Credit: Guek "Kurt" Hock Ping, Flickr]

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