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Scientists discover new fungus species on twitter

Date: 17 May 2020 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

A new species has just been discovered on Twitter. It’s a type of parasitic fungus, which researchers have described in the journal MycoKeys. Its name: Troglomyces twitteri.

 

Details

  • A biologist and associate professor with the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark, was scrolling though Twitter when she stumbled upon a photo of a North American millipede.

  • She spotted a few tiny dots, which was something looking like fungi on the surface of the millipede. Until then, these fungi had never been found on American millipedes.

  • On further research, they found several specimens of the same fungus on a few of the American millipedes in the collection. These were fungi that had never before been documented before. 

  • Troglomyces twitteri belongs to an order called Laboulbeniales — tiny fungal parasites that attack insects and millipedes look like tiny larvae. These fungi live on the outside of host organisms; in this case, on the reproductive organs of millipedes.

  • Laboulbeniales were first discovered in the middle of the 19th century. Their taxonomic position was identified in detailed studies performed by Roland Thaxter at Harvard University, beginning in 1890.

  • Of these, approximately 30 different species attack millipedes. Most of these species were recently identified but scientists believe many more remain to be discovered.