A new insect species living in Malaysia was discovered thanks to a photo posted on the internet, which was spotted by an entomologist randomly flipping through the images.
The previously-unknown 30-mm green lacewing was caught on camera in a forested park north of Kuala Lumpur by amateur photographer Guek Hock Ping, who later shared the picture on Flickr.
He was oblivious to the fact that he was holding a potential discovery in his hands and let the insect fly away after taking the shot.
Fortunately Shaun Winterton, a senior entomologist at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, stumbled upon the picture in May 2011 as he was browsing insect photographs online.
He realized the lacewing was not known to scientists after seeing a distinct pattern of veins in the insect’s wings, which sports black markings and two white spots. He consulted his colleagues, and they failed to recognize the insect species just as he had.