The second largest carnivorous plant in the Americas lives on a single mountain peak in the southeast of Brazil. It can grow almost five feet tall, and its long sticky leaves can catch “insects the size of a dragonfly,” The Telegraph reports. Although the mountaintop on which the plant lives is surrounded by human development, the plant was unknown to science—until one amateur researcher posted its picture to Facebook.
There are forums online where plant enthusiasts and scientists gather to share pictures of their finds: often, the amateurs’ photos are useful for scientists establishing the range of certain species. But this Facebook submission was unusual, and eventually the picture found its way to scientists who specialize in this type of plant.
Along with Reginaldo Vasconcelos, the man who first found the plant, scientists traveled to the site and determined that the plant was a previously unknown species. This is the first time that any plant has been “discovered through photographs on a social network,” the scientists who formally described it write in Phytotaxa.
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