Journal Article

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  • Surveying ultraviolet reflectance in moths: A method and workflow for data capture using opensource tools
    Cane, E., Laventhol, J., Ledger, S.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 5, pages 50 - 65

    Although moths are much more diverse members of the Lepidoptera compared with butterflies, there is a deficit of studies concerning their ultraviolet (UV) reflectance. The Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK), is re-curating its collection of moths occurring in the British Isles as part of the iCollections mass digitisation project. We captured UV images as an addition to the workflow. Through imaging entire drawers in UV and humanvisible
    spectra and applying post-production methodology to standardise the images, we obtained objective and comparable UV reflectance values for 176 species in ten families, totalling 1,760 specimens. We show that usable imaging in UV above 360 nm is possible with conventional photographic equipment. UV reflectance metrics were calculated per species, and compared to usual flying time. Nocturnal species were found to reflect
    significantly more than diurnal.

    We generated a corpus of data for UV and other morphological studies, without the need for additional expensive equipment. Scaling of the images provides for morphometric analysis. This method can be adopted as an additional module to digitisation workflows at NHMUK and other museums

    Keywords: collections, digitisation, image processing, Lepidoptera, morphology, opensource software, photography, visual ecology