A New Species Of Fungus Discovered On Twitter

A New Species Of Fungus Discovered On Twitter

Most of us use social media for entertainment, get to know about others, or just to pass time, but there are some people who discovered a new species on social media. The researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark found a new type of parasitic fungus via Twitter.

One day, associate professor Ana Sofia Reboleira of the National Natural History Museum was scrolling through Twitter and that is when she saw a photo of a North American millipede which was shared by her US colleague Derek Hennen from Virginia Tech. Sofia first observed a few tiny dots on the millipede and she quickly realized that these were never seen before.

I could see something looking like fungi on the surface of the millipede. Until then, these fungi had never been found on American millipedes. So, I went to my colleague and showed him the image. That’s when we ran down to the museum’s collections and began digging,” explains Ana Sofia Reboleira.

With her colleague, Henrik Enghoff, Sofia discovered a lot of specimens of the same fungus on a few of the American millipedes in the Natural History Museum’s enormous collection and this was indeed a fungus that had never before been documented.

This confirmed the existence of a previously unknown species of Laboulbeniales which is an order of tiny, bizarre, and largely unknown fungal parasites that attack insects and millipedes and the research was published in MycoKeys Journal.

As this was found on twitter, this parasitic fungus has now been given its name after twitter and it will be officially known as Troglomyces twitteri.

Sergi Santamaria et al, The first Laboulbeniales (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniomycetes) from an American millipede, discovered through social media, MycoKeys (2020). DOI: 10.3897/mycokeys.67.51811

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