Potential for identification of wild night-flying moths by remote infrared microscopy

Meng Li, Clara Seinsche, Samuel Jansson, Julio Hernandez, Jadranka Rota, Eric Warrant, Mikkel Brydegaard

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


There are hundreds of thousands of moth species with crucial ecological roles that are often obscured by their nocturnal lifestyles. The pigmentation and appearance of moths are dominated by cryptic diffuse shades of brown. In this study, 82 specimens representing 26 moth species were analysed using infrared polarimetric hyperspectral imaging in the range of 0.95–2.5 µm. Contrary to previous studies, we demonstrate that since infrared light does not resolve the surface roughness, wings appear glossy and specular at longer wavelengths. Such properties provide unique reflectance spectra between species. The reflectance of the majority of our species could be explained by comprehensive models, and a complete parametrization of the spectral, polarimetric and angular optical properties was reduced to just 11 parameters with physical units. These parameters are complementary and, compared with the within-species variation, were significantly distinct between species. Counterintuitively to the aperture-limited resolution criterion, we could deduce microscopic features along the surface from their infrared properties. These features were confirmed by electron microscopy. Finally, we show how our findings could greatly enhance opportunities for remote identification of free-flying moth species, and we hypothesize that such flat specular wing targets could be expected to be sensed over considerable distances.
TidskriftJournal of the Royal Society Interface
StatusPublished - 2022 juni 22

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Fjärranalysteknik
  • Biofysik
  • Atom- och molekylfysik och optik
  • Zoologi


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