Entomologists are much like the rest of us when it comes to wasting time, checking Facebook and browsing Flickr, but in the case of Shaun Winterton, his mindless perusing led to the startling discovery of a new species.
Winterton e-mailed the photographer, Guek Hock Ping, who had taken the picture but not caught a sample of the unidentified lacewing insect. A year later, though, Winterton was surprised and delighted to hear that Ping had returned to Malaysia and had one sitting in a container on his kitchen table.
The insect was then dispatched to the Natural History Museum in London, where Steve Brooks confirmed that it was a novel type.
The new species was dubbed Semachrysa jade — not after its pale green color, but after Winterton’s daughter. It was introduced to the world in the latest issue of ZooKeys, a scientific journal focused on biodiversity. In keeping with the digital nature of their discovery, Winterton, Guek and Brooks wrote the paper from three different continents using a Google document.
So, the next time you’re aimlessly perusing the Internet, use this story to bolster the claim you’re doing it in the name of science.
Time suckage in the name of science.
Photo credit: Guek Hock Ping/ZooKeysAuthor on Google+