Biodiversity Information Science and Standards : Conference Abstract
Conference Abstract
Books and Drawers full of Moths
expand article infoKane Fleury, Emma Burns, Barbara Anderson§, Robert Hoare|, Ralf Ohlemuller
‡ Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand
§ Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, Dunedin, New Zealand
| Landcare Research Ltd., Auckland, New Zealand
¶ Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand
Open Access


The Otago Museum houses one of New Zealand’s largest Lepidoptera collections that consists of more than 31,000 macro moth specimens collected across New Zealand over the last 30 years. Alongside this collection, supplementary information is found in detailed field notebooks that cover, for most sites, the total abundance of the different species present in these samples. We have been able to use the notebooks to work out the sampling intensity and sites to map both the collections and the abundances to some degree.

It is impractical to collect everything. As a result, the common species are left out of collections and the rare and unusual sightings fill the collections. When planning to resample collecting sites to investigate changes in ecosystems, just relying on collections for species presence and absence would skew the results. It should also be noted that field notebooks are not a panacea for biological information as the information in them ages, so too can the reliability and accuracy of the notes within.

Here we discuss how the field notebook data compares with the information accompanying the specimens housed within the museum collection. This is a recently digitised collection and allows an insight into the collectors sampling, vouchering and data practices and how these can affect modern interpretation and variation in repeat sampling.


Otago Museum, digitization, field notes, Lepidoptera, sampling, voucher specimens, collector

Presenting author

Kane Fleury

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