Experts are not sure how the phenomenon occurred or precisely when it began, but if you're in a public space and you look around now there's an excellent chance you'll spot one. Once a rare breed but now seemingly everywhere, there he or she is -- the Info-junkie (Twitterus messageus ubiquitus).

Like parakeets in south-west London or San Francisco, this was once an exotic and exciting sight but in the last few years the Info-junkie has become very common. They cannot be positively identified by their plumage but the hunched posture, inert state and often red-rimmed eyes are characteristic. However, the main identifying factor is that they will be clutching an electronic device of some sort and pecking or pawing with one or more digit.

Their natural habitat is urban conurbations where there is a plentiful supply of the connectivity the Info-junkie needs to feed its obsessive compulsion. In rural areas the Info-junkie may sometimes be observed but country-folk (Homo rusticus) will often flush them out, believing that they are a weaker and expendable member of the species.

Why does the Info-junkie flourish today? Some say that it is because they enjoy a relaible diet from the flocks of cheap hardware migrating from south east Asia, having been initially attracted by the bright colours and distinctive markings (note, respectively, the sub-species iPodus, iPhonus and recently observed hybrid iPadus expensivus ridicularis).

Also, human feeding habits in the last two decades have attracted the Knowledge Worker (Powerpointus flagrante), a voracious north American breed, related to the Common Desk Jockey or Office Drone (Timeserverus jobsworthus) but distinguished by its incessant yappy chatter, peacock-like demonstrative displays of superiority and affection for bright colours, charts and other eye-catching phenomena. Info-junkies are related to Knowledge Workers with the difference that while the latter will preserve a small potion of time for nurturing families , nourishment and social activity, the Info-junkie prefers isolation, often spending long nocturnal periods in front of screens and forsaking rest and fledglings to feed its data addiction.

This has led to some concerns. Can Info-junkies prosper when their small brains are spending so much time in hyper-active sessions of knowledge discovery? And will their odd, highly prescribed existences see physical and mental problems develop in later life? Above all the higher primates to be observed today, the Info-junkie will surely reward keen observers' ample attention over the coming years.