Machine Vision and Applications

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 105–123

Automated insect identification through concatenated histograms of local appearance features: feature vector generation and region detection for deformable objects


    • Department of Electrical EngineeringUniversity of Washington
  • Hongli Deng
    • School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceOregon State University
  • Wei Zhang
    • School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceOregon State University
  • Matt Sarpola
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringOregon State University
  • Jenny Yuen
    • Computer Science and AI LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Robert Paasch
    • Department of Mechanical EngineeringOregon State University
  • Andrew Moldenke
    • Department of Botany and Plant PathologyOregon State University
  • David A. Lytle
    • Department of ZoologyOregon State University
  • Salvador Ruiz Correa
    • Department of Diagnostic Imaging and RadiologyChildren’s National Medical Center
  • Eric N. Mortensen
    • School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceOregon State University
  • Linda G. Shapiro
    • Department of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of Washington
  • Thomas G. Dietterich
    • School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceOregon State University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00138-007-0086-y

Cite this article as:
Larios, N., Deng, H., Zhang, W. et al. Machine Vision and Applications (2008) 19: 105. doi:10.1007/s00138-007-0086-y


This paper describes a computer vision approach to automated rapid-throughput taxonomic identification of stonefly larvae. The long-term objective of this research is to develop a cost-effective method for environmental monitoring based on automated identification of indicator species. Recognition of stonefly larvae is challenging because they are highly articulated, they exhibit a high degree of intraspecies variation in size and color, and some species are difficult to distinguish visually, despite prominent dorsal patterning. The stoneflies are imaged via an apparatus that manipulates the specimens into the field of view of a microscope so that images are obtained under highly repeatable conditions. The images are then classified through a process that involves (a) identification of regions of interest, (b) representation of those regions as SIFT vectors (Lowe, in Int J Comput Vis 60(2):91–110, 2004) (c) classification of the SIFT vectors into learned “features” to form a histogram of detected features, and (d) classification of the feature histogram via state-of-the-art ensemble classification algorithms. The steps (a) to (c) compose the concatenated feature histogram (CFH) method. We apply three region detectors for part (a) above, including a newly developed principal curvature-based region (PCBR) detector. This detector finds stable regions of high curvature via a watershed segmentation algorithm. We compute a separate dictionary of learned features for each region detector, and then concatenate the histograms prior to the final classification step. We evaluate this classification methodology on a task of discriminating among four stonefly taxa, two of which, Calineuria and Doroneuria, are difficult even for experts to discriminate. The results show that the combination of all three detectors gives four-class accuracy of 82% and three-class accuracy (pooling Calineuria and Doro-neuria) of 95%. Each region detector makes a valuable contribution. In particular, our new PCBR detector is able to discriminate Calineuria and Doroneuria much better than the other detectors.


ClassificationObject recognitionInterest operatorsRegion detectorsSIFT descriptor

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© Springer-Verlag 2007