Oak Beauty in UV

I found this Oak Beauty Biston strataria sitting on a fencepost today and took some snaps. To us the patterns look pretty colourless, matching the grey granite background in these images well (though as their name implies, they’re likely to spend more time on oak and other deciduous trees). I also converted the images to visual systems sensitive to UV, such as blue tits (likely predator vision) and Heliconius (a butterfly that might have slightly similar vision – though butterfly & moth vision is quite varied).

These pseudo-uv colour images show that the moth is more colourful to predators and conspecifics than us humans, with white wing edges and ‘yellow’ and ‘brown’ sections elsewhere.

I took all these images with a full spectrum converted Samsung NX1000 with a Novoflex Noflexar 35mm lens, with Baader UV/IR cut and Baader Venus-U filters. All images are normalised against a calibrated reflectance standard, converted to animal cone catch quanta, then square-root transformed so that the linear images look normal on a computer monitor.

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