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Morphometric measurements of dragonfly wings: the accuracy of pinned, scanned and detached measurement methods

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Author(s): Patricia Backwell | Laura Johnson | Beth Mantle | Janet gardner

Journal: ZooKeys
ISSN 1313-2989

Volume: 276;
Start page: 77;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Digitization | entomological collections | morphometrics | museum collections | dragonflies

ABSTRACT
Large-scale digitization of museum specimens, particularly of insect collections, is becoming commonplace. Imaging increases the accessibility of collections and decreases the need to handle individual, often fragile, specimens. Another potential advantage of digitization is to make it easier to conduct morphometric analyses, but the accuracy of such methods needs to be tested. Here we compare morphometric measurements of scanned images of dragonfly wings to those obtained using other, more traditional, methods. We assume that the destructive method of removing and slide-mounting wings provides the most accurate method of measurement because it eliminates error due to wing curvature. We show that, for dragonfly wings, hand measurements of pinned specimens and digital measurements of scanned images are equally accurate relative to slide-mounted hand measurements. Since destructive slide-mounting is unsuitable for museum collections, and there is a risk of damage when hand measuring fragile pinned specimens, we suggest that the use of scanned images may also be an appropriate method to collect morphometric data from other collected insect species.

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