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Probing insect backscatter cross section and melanization using kHz optical remote detection system

  • Alem Gebru
  • Mikkel Brydegaard
  • Erich Rohwer
  • Pieter Neethling
Publishing year: 2017-01-01
Language: English
Publication/Series: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: SPIE

Abstract english

A kHz optical remote sensing system is implemented to determine insect melanization features. This is done by measuring the backscatter signal in the visible and near-infrared (VISNIR) and short-wave infrared (SWIR) in situ. It is shown that backscatter cross section in the SWIR is insensitive to melanization and absolute melanization can be derived from the ratio of backscatter cross section of different bands (SWIR/VIS-NIR). We have shown that reflectance from insect is stronger in the SWIR as compared to NIR and VIS. This reveals that melanization plays a big role to determine backscatter cross section. One can use this feature as a tool to improve insect species and age classification. To support the findings, we illustrated melanization feature using three different insects [dead, dried specimens of snow white moth (Spilosoma genus), fox moth (Macrothylacia), and leather beetle (Odontotaenius genus)]. It is shown that reflectance from the leather beetle in the VIS and NIR is more affected by melanization as compared with snow white moth.


  • Physical Sciences
  • Zoology
  • backscatter cross section
  • dark-field spectroscopy
  • harmonics
  • melanization
  • multiband detection
  • remote sensing
  • wing-beat frequency


  • ISSN: 1931-3195
Mikkel Brygdegaard
E-mail: mikkel [dot] brydegaard [at] forbrf [dot] lth [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

Combustion Physics

+46 46 222 76 57



Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden