Adult green lacewing (Semachrysa jade sp. n.). Photo by Hock Ping Guek
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.
The species is named Semachrysa jade and lives in the rainforests of Malaysia.
Shaun Winterton, a researcher with the California State Collection of Arthropods at the California Department of Food & Agriculture, 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 and Stephen J. Brooks of the Natural History Museum in London to write up the description in ZooKeys. Hock is a co-author on the paper.
Adult green lacewing (Semachrysa jade). Photo by Hock Ping Guek
Semachrysa jade now officially joins the list of more than 1,200 species of green lacewings found world wide. Lacewings are notable for their feeding habit, which changes dramatically as they age.
“Adults mostly feed on flowers, but the larvae are ferocious predators of other insects, frequently carrying the dead carcasses of their prey on their backs after killing them using their enormous, sucking tube-like jaws,” explained a statement released by Pensoft Publishers.
Thousands of “new” insect species are described by scientists each year.
CITATION: Winterton SL, Guek HP, Brooks SJ (2012) A charismatic new species of green lacewing discovered in Malaysia (Neuroptera, Chrysopidae): the confluence of citizen scientist, online image database and cybertaxonomy. ZooKeys 214: 1–11. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.214.3220
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