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Citizen naturalist leads to lacewing discovery

In a paper about a "charismatic new species of green lacewing discovered in Malaysia," entomologist Shaun Winterton credits the work of photographer Hock Ping Guek for leading him to a new discovery.

Calling it a joint discovery by Hock, who posted a photo of the unusual lacewing on Flickr, and professionals who later noticed that the wing patterns didn't match known species, Winterton also made a case for "citizen naturalists" that help out by crowdsourcing information.

Hock shared author credit with Winterton (California State Collection of Arthropods, California Department of Food & Agriculture) and Stephen J. Brooks (Department of Entomology, The Natural History Museum, London, Great Britain) for the paper published in ZooKeys.

"With the rapid development of digital photographic technology, professional and amateur photographers are unknowingly discovering and informally documenting new species of animals and plants by placing images of them in online image databases long before taxonomists can examine them," the authors wrote in a paper.

Hock was able to collect a specimen after being contacted by Winterton, making it possible to formally identify this lacewing as a new species.

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