The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 03. Digital near-infrared photography as a tool in forensic snake skin identification

429 downloads

Open Access

pp. 79-82
Authors: Baker, Barry W.; Reinholz, Andrew D. & Espinoza, Edgard O.

Abstract: This project demonstrates that near-infrared (NIR) imaging with an alternate light source (ALS) and digital photography are useful tools for revealing and documenting original dorsal skin patterns found on dyed snake leather products in the wildlife trade. We used an Omnichrome Spectrum 9000+ ALS at NIR wavelengths of 700 nm to reveal dorsal patterns on a tanned and dyed reticulated python skin (Python reticulatus) submitted for forensic analysis. Under NIR imaging, this pattern was easily photographed using a Fujifilm Finepix IS-Pro digital camera designed specifically for forensic ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) photography. These methods have great potential for species identification based on highly modified animal products (such as dyed snake leather), thus contributing to CITES enforcement efforts.

Keywords: DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY, WILDLIFE TRADE, CITES ENFORCEMENT, SNAKE LEATHER IDENTIFICATION, NEAR-INFRARED (NIR) IMAGING

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