Blog

DigiVol: The Wonder of Insects

By: Leonie Prater, Category: Science, Date: 11 Nov 2011

DigiVol (formerly Rapid Digitisation Project): Check out some amazing pics of cicadas, tree hoppers, and hawk moths taken by our volunteers.

Cerura australis

Louise Williams © Australian Museum

These insects, whose colour and features may not be very interesting or noticeable to the naked eye morph under the cameral lens into very cute, fuzzy, hairy, scary, futuristic, colourful, transluscent and beautiful insects that volunteers find very cool.

If these images have captured your interest, there are many more to see which have been taken by our wonderful volunteers who happily snap away four days a week. Mind you, even before taking an image , there are many handling difficulties for the volunteers to avoid as they need to carefully extract the valuable and often fragile insect from a drawer which may be wedged in on all sides by other insects, all equally fragile. Labels pinned under the insects are often coaxed off corroded pins which may be another cause of potential damage to the insect due to the movement of the forceps against the pin. And on taking the image, the digitiser goes through the process in reverse before finally replacing the insect undamaged into the drawer. This is not for the feint hearted!

Volunteers receive an induction and training session to provide the necessary skills to confidently handle and digitise insects. So far, we have taken 15,000 images of insects, some of which you can check out and transcribe the labels on the DigiVol portal.

And you might wonder who provides us with the beautifully curated drawers full of insects to be digitised. In Entomology, Dave Britton, Collection Manager of Entomology, Jacquie Recsei, Technical Officer, staff and research scientists have helped volunteers to appreciate the wonder of the insect world and to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to handle these valuable insects with care. Dave, along with his staff have been integral to the success of the project.

If you are interested in being a volunteer on the digitisation project, please register on the Australian Museum website.

 

Learn more about DigiVol