Indonesia is known as a megadiverse country with about 1,900 species of butterflies, many endemic to certain islands. The Museum Zoologi Bogor established in 1894 holds butterfly collection an estimated 58,000 specimens with less than 5% being databased. Under a recent collaboration with Dr. Christoph Häuser, on the IndoBioSys project, the project team explored QR codes as unique identifiers for specimen digitization—a solution . We found this system very desirable and worth pursuing at larger scale.
For this project, digitization including the application of QR codes for specimens at MZB will be undertaken by hired assistants, with a first year focus on the family Papilionidae (Swallowtails) and selected economically important and endemic species of other families. Papilionidae are a priority group for biodiversity conservation, and include the magnificent birdwing butterflies. In Indonesia,there are about 120 species of Papilionidae including 50 endemics, and about 7,000 specimens at MZB. Though protection measures have been in place (Peggie, 2011), trade of these species remains a constant issue. Mobilization of specimen information will play an important part in decision making for conservation, taking into account temporal and spatial data from specimens. The existence of a butterfly garden and breeding program at LIPI in Cibinong will add data on life history crucial for consideration.
We will be working closely with Mfn (Berlin), Naturalis (Leiden), and other partners towards fully geo-referencing butterfly collection data from Indonesia. The partners will provide access to additional specimen data, thereby fill information gaps and also help build capacity. Thus, we expect to jointly mobilize significant datasets on Papilionidae and other SE-Asian butterfly groups to be shared through GBIF for wider use and greater advancement of knowledge.