BIOSCAN-1M Insect Dataset

Cataloging insect biodiversity with a new large dataset of hand-labelled insect images

A graphic showing nine arthropods in microplate wells and the AI workflow to generate automated taxonomic identification.

In an effort to catalog insect biodiversity, we propose a new large dataset of hand-labelled insect images, the BIOSCAN-1M Insect Dataset (Preprint). Each record is taxonomically classified by an expert, and also has associated genetic information including raw nucleotide barcode sequences and assigned barcode index numbers, which are genetically-based proxies for species classification. This paper presents a curated million-image dataset, primarily to train computer-vision models capable of providing image-based taxonomic assessment, however, the dataset also presents compelling characteristics, the study of which would be of interest to the broader machine learning community.

Driven by the biological nature inherent to the dataset, a characteristic long-tailed class-imbalance distribution is exhibited. Furthermore, taxonomic labelling is a hierarchical classification scheme, presenting a highly fine-grained classification problem at lower levels. Beyond spurring interest in biodiversity research within the machine learning community, progress on creating an image-based taxonomic classifier will also further the ultimate goal of all BIOSCAN research: to lay the foundation for a comprehensive survey of global biodiversity.

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Combining massive field programs,
high-throughput sample processing,
high-resolution imaging, and cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies with globally unique, actively-curated data platforms