Ento360 About

About Ento360

This web site presents 360° views of insect specimens from collections. The photogrammetry used to create these views is often input into 3D modelling software to create virtual models that can be manipulated on screen or even 3D-printed as physical objects. The 3D software may produce a physically accurate 3D model, but suffers from the loss of photographic details and color. The 360° views here are simply compilations of high resolution 2D images which can be manipulated to provide a sense of the real 3D specimen, while preserving minute morphological details for scientific examination. The 360° views were created using WebRotate 360 SpotEditor. A blog post describing the process we use can be found HERE.

Viewing Tips

Loading the initial set of images takes a few seconds, and then the specimen will rotate once. At this point you can click-drag your mouse to rotate the specimen left or right, or tilt the specimen up or down.

A double-click will magnify the specimen, in either one or two steps. Once fully enlarged, another double-click will return to the original view. While the specimen is enlarged, click-dragging the mouse will pan the image so you can view any part that may be off-screen. If you have a mouse wheel (or Apple Magic Mouse) you can scroll to rotate the enlarged image.

You can also always use the control buttons at the bottom of the screen:

Control buttons

When you click into FULL SCREEN, the highest resolution images all load at once, taking several seconds. After that, the specimen will rotate once, and you can interact with the specimen in the same manner as after the initial load above. However, now that all hi-res images are fully loaded, you'll see that the picture remains sharp with each rotation or tilt step, rather than taking a moment to sharpen each view. If you exit full screen mode, the hi-res images remain loaded, enhancing the interaction in the browser window view.


The camera rig used to shoot the specimens is shown on the Home page of this site. The camera is mounted on a horizontal motorized focusing rail, allowing focus-stacking of multiple images (typically ~10-60) to create a single finely detailed image of each view point. The specimen is mounted on a motorized 360° turntable, which in turn is mounted to a motorized rotating arm. The focusing rail, turntable, and rotating arm are all automatically programmed using a Cognisys StackShot 3X to shoot, typically, 180 different viewpoints (5 different angles of 360° rotation, with 36 viewpoints in each rotation).

NSF Project # 1942193

The "virtual insects" on this web site were created under a project funded by the National Science Foundation at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (CLEV). The principal investigator is Dr. Nicole Gunter, whose primary area of research is Australian dung beetles. One key goal is to provide online access to type specimens of various dung beetle species, several of which were loaned to CLEV by other museums, including:

        ANIC - Australian National Insect Collection
        BMNH - The Natural History Museum, London (These were imaged on-site in London)
        CAS - California Academy of Sciences
        CMNC - Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa
        MCZC - Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge
        MHNG - Natural History Museum of Geneva
        MSNG - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Genova
        NHMB - Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel
        OUMNH - Oxford University Museum of Natural History
        QM - Queensland Museum, South Brisbane