Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods

Don't accept the chauvinistic tradition that labels our era the age of mammals. This is the age of arthropods. They outnumber us by any criterion – by species, by individuals, by prospects for evolutionary continuation.

Stephen Jay Gould

The aim of this WikiProject is to set out broad suggestions about how to organize data in the articles relating to insects, arachnids, crustaceans and other arthropods. We also hope to encourage the development of important stubs and articles following these suggestions. In general, these are only suggestions, and you shouldn't feel obliged to follow them.


This WikiProject is an offshoot of WikiProject Tree of Life

WikiProject Science
WikiProject Biology
WikiProject Tree of Life
WikiProject Animals
WikiProject Arthropods

Descendants of this project include:



Arthropod articles can be on any level that makes sense in context. Most will be about particular taxa. For example:

Other levels of taxonomy may be added if necessary : subclass, infraclass, suborder, infraorder, superfamily, subfamily, etc.

In many cases, it makes sense to combine several taxonomic levels in a single article. For example, the genus Limulus contains only one species, Limulus polyphemus, so the one article covers both levels. Conversely, sometimes it is better to cover only a part of a taxon: mite deals with four different (but related) families and ignores the other families in the order Acari.

Some large families, such as the Papilionidae, will need to be broken down at some stage because of the number of species. For this, lists of species by subfamily may be created. In some cases, geography, logistics, familiarity with fauna, and convenience may require a study to be restricted to a region or political boundary. Spider taxonomy and List of butterflies of India (Papilionidae) are good examples of attempts to achieve this.

It may be useful to start with a high-level article, such as a family article, and then split off genus and/or species articles as the material builds.

If possible, create links to articles on the levels immediately higher and lower. An article on a genus such as Bombus should link back to the family Apidae and order Hymenoptera, and down to species articles where they exist. Considering the vast number of species in some genera (or genera in some families, etc.), this may not always be possible, but should be tried as often as possible.

Overview of the classification of arthropods

  • Crustacea – now considered to be a paraphyletic group with respect to Hexapoda

For more information on classification, see arthropod classification, crustacean, arachnid classification, insect classification, Myriapoda and trilobite.

Criteria for inclusion


At what level is it worth having a separate Wikipedia article for a particular arthropod? Any level you like. If we write individual articles for all one million-odd described species, we will be at it for a long time! The simplest (and probably best) rule is to have no rule: if you have the time and energy to write up some particularly obscure subspecies that most people have never even heard of, go to it!

As a general guideline though, combine several species or subspecies into a single article when there isn't enough text to make more than short, unsatisfying stubs otherwise. If the article grows large enough to deserve splitting, that can always be done later.

Also, it is preferable to start at a higher taxonomic level and work our way down to particular species than the reverse.

What about extinct arthropods? At the very least, we should include arthropods that have become extinct within historical times: within the last 5000 years or so. Most extinct arthropods will be much older however, but there seems to be no obvious reason to exclude any of them: there is already a nice page for trilobite; if an expert on fossil arthropods comes along and wants to contribute more, all the better.

Names and titles


In cases where common names are well-known and reasonably unique, they should be used for article titles. Scientific names should be used otherwise. Note the following guidelines in using scientific names:

  • Names of genera are always italicized and capitalized— Drosophila, Homarus, Limulus.
  • Specific epithets are always italicized and preceded by the name of the genus or an abbreviation of it— Limulus polyphemus or L. polyphemus, but never plain polyphemus, since such identifiers need not be unique (e.g. Gopherus polyphemus, Antheraea polyphemus). They are never capitalized.
  • Names of higher taxa are capitalized but not italicized— Limulidae, Orthoptera, Crustacea.

In the orders Odonata and Lepidoptera, common names may be capitalised; other common names should be in lower case.

In cases where a group only contains a single subgroup, the two should not be separated. If there is no common name, the article should generally go under the scientific name that is most often used when discussing the group, or under the scientific name of lowest rank if there is no clear preference. However, for a genus that contains a single species, the genus name should be used since it is included in the binomial. For instance the order Amphionidacea, which has the single species Amphionides reynaudii, is discussed at Amphionides.

Not all species need have separate articles. The simplest (and probably best) rule is to have no rule: if you have the time and energy to write up some particularly obscure subspecies that most people have never even heard of, go for it! As a general guideline, though, it's best to combine separate species into a single entry whenever it seems likely that there won't be enough text to make more than a short, unsatisfying stub otherwise. If the entry grows large enough to deserve splitting, that can always be done later.

A useful heuristic is to create articles in a "downwards" order, that is, family articles first, then genera, then species. If you find that information is getting thin, or the family/genus is really small, just leave the species info inline in the family or genus article, don't try to force it down any further.

Taxonomy and references


This is likely to be the single most difficult part of the project. Not only does arthropod taxonomy vary significantly from one authority to another, but it is in a state of constant change. There is no single authority to rely on; no one list can claim to be the list.

Article contents


The following items are desirable for articles of all levels, although the detail will vary depending on several factors. These items do not need to be separated into distinct sections; text should flow in continuous prose so far as possible. The order this information is included is also relatively unimportant, although the order listed is generally preferred.

  • {{Taxobox}} – See Template:Taxobox/doc for full details on constructing a taxobox.
  • Description – A brief overview of the animal's appearance, including typical sizes. How does it differ from related taxa, or other taxa with which it could be confused?
  • Distribution – Where does it live, geographically?
  • Ecology / behaviour – What habitats does it inhabit? What does it eat? What eats it? What other taxa does it interact with (symbioses, competitors, parasites, etc.)?
  • Importance to man, if any
  • Taxonomic history – When was the taxon first described, and by whom? How is classified now?

Assessment statistics


Note: the table below only shows articles tagged with the {{WikiProject Arthropods}} template, so excludes those tagged as belonging to descendant wikiprojects.

  • 0.8% List-Class
  • 83.6% Stub-Class
  • 9.9% Start-Class
  • 4.5% C-Class
  • 0.6% B-Class
  • 0.6% GA-Class
  • 0.1% FA-Class
  • Quality operations: A bot-generated daily log which lists articles Reassessed, Assessed and Removed.
  • Popular pages: List of top articles with the most frequent views, updated monthly.

Sample articles


Good articles

Full list of featured images

New articles


To do


Arthropods requested articles now have their own page: Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods/Article requests. Please put them there.

Photo requests can be made by adding |needs-photo=yes in the assessment template or using {{reqphoto|arthropods}}.

Good Articles lacking focal image


The following articles have been assessed as Good Articles, but lack illustrations of the subject. If you can find, or create, a suitably licensed illustration or photograph, please upload to Commons and add to the article(s) to make them even better.

Other tasks


Article alerts


Did you know

Articles to be merged



Please consider adding a few words about your areas of expertise/interest (if any) after your username.

  • AWolfSpider I'm interested in most invertebrates, specifically insects

Stub templates


Remember to mark up stubs with the appropriate template. Where specific templates do not exist (e.g. Merostomata, Pycnogonida, etc.), use {{arthropod-stub}}. Otherwise, see below.

Class Template
Arachnids {{arachnid-stub}}:
Crustaceans {{crustacean-stub}}: {{amphipod-stub}}; {{copepod-stub}}; {{Decapoda-stub}} ({{crab-stub}}); {{isopod-stub}}
Prehistoric arthropods {{paleo-arthropod-stub}}, {{trilobite-stub}}
Insects {{insect-stub}}: see WikiProject Insects for details
Other {{Myriapoda-stub}}

Talk pages and grading scheme


Please place {{WikiProject Arthropods}} at the top of an article's talk page so articles can be assessed. What this template does:

  1. It will help to lead new editors to this project.
  2. If complete with quality and importance grading (see Article Classification and grading scheme), it helps us to stay on top of the huge number of arthropod-related articles.



Please make sure to add articles to the appropriate categories among the ones listed at Category:Arthropods. If there are any categories that you think should be created, please request them here or on the talk page.

In some cases, there might be more appropriate ways to group articles than categories, such as lists or article series boxes. For more information, see Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes.



Userbox enthusiasts may want to put this one on their user page: {{User WikiProject Arthropods}} to show that they are members of this WikiProject.


The Arthropod Barnstar
Your message here...

Know a user that has done tremendous work on Arthropod-related articles? Give them this barnstar! Just add...

{{Arthropod Barnstar|''Your message here...''}}

to the user's talk page.





To find suitable images for articles, the first place to start is Category:Arthropoda on WikiCommons, where you can search or browse by category.

CC licensed publications


Note:"Open Access" does not always mean "free to use". Media licensed "CC-BY" can be used without restriction, while "CC-BY-NC" or -ND (non-commerical or non-derivative) cannot be used on Wikipedia. (See Commons Licensing for more details)

All images and text published in these journals are free to use on Wikipedia when authors are attributed, unless otherwise noted.

The following journals may have free CC-licensed publications (verify for each article)



The pages below provide fairly up-do date information on species names and classification, but it's a good idea to verify when the data was last updated and verified.

Cladograms can be requested for creation here.

See also



Main tool page:
  • Reflinks - Edits bare references - adds title/dates etc. automatically to references
  • Checklinks - Edit and repair external links
  • Dab solver - Quickly resolve ambiguous links.
  • Peer reviewer - Provides hints and suggestion to improving articles.