Scientists discovering a new species of fungi is not really that uncommon, right? They do it all the time. But this time, the species was discovered on social media platform, Twitter! Yes, we couldn't believe this either.
Phys.org reports that Ana Sofia Reboleira, a biologist at the Natural History Museum in Denmark, was scrolling through Twitter when she chanced upon a photo posted by Derek Hennen, who is doing his PhD in Entomology at Virginia Tech. It was the photo of a North American millipede.
On scrutinizing the photo, Reboleira found that there were tiny dots which resembled a fungus on the body of the millipede. She then began digging with another colleague and together they found the presence of the same fungus on American millipedes. The existence of the fungus had never been documented before.
It was found that the fungus in question belonged to the group - Laboulbeniales - who attack and feed on hosts like millipedes. Since the fungus was discovered on Twitter, it was named accordingly - Troglomyces twitteri.
Reboleira also said in an interview that this is the first time a species has been discovered on Twitter and said that this shows how important social media platforms are for sharing and documenting research which can lead to more such discoveries in the long run.
Here's a thread by Hennen which shows how the discovery happened:
But take a closer look and you can see tiny fungal bodies on the first ring of the millipede! Here's the fungus, circled in red (pic.twitter.com/kkfV5wftlL).— Derek Hennen, Ph.D. (@derekhennen) May 14, 2020