Butterflies on Notes From Nature

The McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the University of Florida houses a large, diverse collection of pinned butterflies and moths. As a National Science Foundation-funded research fellow at the University of Florida, I am working to collect standardized images of the hundreds, if not thousands, of New World swallowtail butterflies housed at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. These large, colorful butterflies can be found from Canada to Argentina in the New World, and the northern Mediterranean, India, and Southeast Asia in the Old World. One species is endangered, and another six species are considered vulnerable to becoming endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Each of the butterfly specimens in this collection is pinned with a number of descriptive labels, containing valuable information on the species and sex of the specimen and where and when it was collected. By transcribing these labels, you are helping me to collect information that I can use to determine the broad-scale ecological patterns of diversity in this group of butterflies. These data can be combined with color and shape measurements collected from specimen images in order to understand how morphological and broad-scale ecological patterns relate.

Additionally, transcribed label data and their associated images will be made available to other researchers for future work utilizing these specimens.

This new interface on Notes From Nature is a little different from the others for two primary reasons. First is that you are required to look at two images in order to capture all the information being asked for. Second is that there is a lot of variability among the labels making the task a bit more difficult. Thanks for giving them a try and please remember to take a close look at the amazing organisms contained in the images.

— Hannah Owens


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