Global spider lore on Twitter: Researcher discovers new retweet mite

Last year, Tobias Pfingstl discovered a new species of mite with the help of Japanese Twitter users.

Global spider lore on Twitter: Researcher discovers new retweet mite

Last year, Tobias Pfingstl discovered a new species of mite with the help of Japanese Twitter users. Thanks to a retweet, the biologist has once again identified an unknown arachnid. The researcher uses the Twitter function for the naming.

A researcher from Austria has discovered a previously unknown species of mite for the second time with the help of an online article. Biologist Tobias Pfingstl recently published the first scientific description of a small animal living in Japan, which he called Ameronothrus retweet - in German retweet mite. Mites - which include ticks - are arachnids.

Last year, the 44-year-old researcher from the University of Graz identified a species with the help of Japanese Twitter users, which he dubbed the Twitter mite (Ameronothrus twitter). A nature lover photographed the arachnid on the coast near Tokyo and posted it on the online platform. A scientist from Hosei University in the Japanese capital saw the images and informed the mite expert Pfingstl.

He found that it was an unknown species. Shortly thereafter, another Japanese user posted a photo of mites on a rocky beach near Tottori and asked online if this was the newly discovered species. Pfingstl had specimens of the almost one-millimeter-long creatures sent to Austria and came to the conclusion that another unknown species was present.

This is how the retweet mite got its name. Retweeting is the dissemination of an online post on Twitter. According to Pfingstl, only a handful of animal and plant species have so far been discovered with the help of social media. "There's still a lot to discover," he said. Around 50,000 mite species are currently known, but every year 100 to 200 new ones are added.

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