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WikiProject Tree of Life (Rated Project-class)
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Tree of Life, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of taxonomy and the phylogenetic tree of life on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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New IUCN UpdateEdit

An FYI, a new update has just been published by the IUCN, and i'm updating as I have time. Mammals are finished, am abou to start birds... Pvmoutside (talk) 20:53, 9 December 2022 (UTC)

@Pvmoutside: I know that IUCN publishes pdf files listing the latest changes, but I don't know where exactly the recently published files can be found. Could you provide a link? I want to bring the Russian Wikipedia articles in line with the latest IUCN version. HFoxii (talk) 06:36, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
I went to find it for you and is giving a 502 Bad Gateway error. Presumably just a temporary glitch. —  Jts1882 | talk  09:36, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
@HFoxii: It was temporary. The page with pdf files is The pdf with the species that changed assessment over 2022 is Table 7 (2021-2022) - Species changing IUCN Red List Category between 2021 and 2022. —  Jts1882 | talk  16:54, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

Imperial conversion for μmEdit

Today I removed a convert template to convert micrometers to inches in the article Paleoserenomyces. The text reads "with the 240–480 μm (0.0094–0.0189 in) around by 180–240 μm (0.0071–0.0094 in)-thick locules". My removal of the template was reverted by @Kevmin:, with the justification "its not our fault imperial doesnt have smaller units". Can anyone explain to me how the presence of the imperial measurement here could be useful to anyone? I've performed similar edits to other ToL-related articles in the past, but this is the first time I've been reverted, so perhaps my understanding needs to be recalibrated. MOS:CONVERSIONS isn't especially helpful for this particular instance, but says "Generally, conversions to and from metric units and US or imperial units should be provided, except: In some topic areas ... it can be excessive to provide a conversion for every quantity." At what point does providing these values become ridiculous? As someone who spends quite a bit of time staring down a microscope, I can't see any use for this conversion ... are there contrary opinions? Esculenta (talk) 16:32, 10 December 2022 (UTC)

Yes, this is pointless. Unit conversions between metric and imperial are intended to provide readers who are more familiar with the one or the other with a relatable value. No one can relate to 1/100 or 1/1000 inch measurements because they are simply not used - all measurements at this scale are reported in metric units, always (unless you are a retired American clockmaker, I suppose...). --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 17:10, 10 December 2022 (UTC)
It's OK to give an article's only substantial contributor some leeway over minor style questions. It's not exactly that anyone's understanding of the article would be hindered by the presences of inches in brackets. Still, it does look bizarre. Do American books ever express dimensions at the micro scale in inches? – Uanfala (talk) 17:17, 10 December 2022 (UTC)
PCBs are often still specified in mil in the UK, and I would wager also in the US. Different field though. Most serious scientific measurements should be in SI units. YorkshireExpat (talk) 17:34, 10 December 2022 (UTC)
(edit conflict) There are non-metric units of length smaller than inches that are in use in specialized fields, but I don't think enough people are familiar with them to really be relatable. I have some sense of how big a 12-point font is, but I don't have a sense of how big a single point is. The article on line (unit) says it was used by biologists, but I've never encountered it (and I do use floras published in the 1950s). Plantdrew (talk) 17:39, 10 December 2022 (UTC)
Mil is the US unit, while thou is the more tradition UK unit (see Thousandth of an inch). But these are (or were) used in specialist fields and won't help people get a sense of size with a more familiar unit. There is no point in a conversion that won't help a significant number of readers. —  Jts1882 | talk  21:25, 10 December 2022 (UTC)
Yeah, electronics is a strange one. A lot of the older standards, like DIL still widely proliferate and are based on imperial, being developed, as they were, in the US. We, in the UK, probably didn't mind that too much and went with it. Not a good argument for lichen though. I'm all for ditching the conversion on this one. YorkshireExpat (talk) 22:02, 10 December 2022 (UTC)

New Reptile Database updateEdit

An FYI, a new update has just been published by the Reptile Database, and i'm updating as I have time....Pvmoutside (talk) 18:32, 30 December 2022 (UTC)

GAR of FishEdit

Fish has been nominated for a community good article reassessment. If you are interested in the discussion, please participate by adding your comments to the reassessment page. If concerns are not addressed during the review period, the good article status may be removed from the article. Artem.G (talk) 16:46, 11 January 2023 (UTC) has left the buildingEdit appears to have long been used as the authoritative reference for Carabidae taxa - we have ~7.4k active links to the site [1]. Unfortunately, and I don't know when that happened, they seem to have switched to a subscription model [2] which has disabled all direct links. As a consequence, what we've got now are 7.4k x 404 errors. Example subfamily, example genus, example species.

What to do? Many, possibly the majority of these articles (hard to tell without Quarry-ing, I suspect) are only sourced to this reference. Those would need to be switched over to CoL or some other database that would be expected to include all these taxa. In other cases the ref could possibly just be deleted if other sources are also given. In either case some bot assist would be needed due to the sheer volume. (Dropping a note at Beetle project) --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 13:11, 13 January 2023 (UTC)

It's been subscription for some time. I have some notes in a file that was last updated in June 2022 that says it is subscription. A lot of the pages are available on, e.g. brachininae so possibly a bot could convert to archived links. Shame it doesn't use a template as then we could just add the archive url.
An alternative source is the checklist at CarabCat, which is not the most user friendly interface. Fortunately, it's the source used by CoL so you can get most of the information there. —  Jts1882 | talk  13:43, 13 January 2023 (UTC)
is GBIF also a valid alternative ? Edisstrange (talk) 01:09, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
I don't see why not. They both use Carabcat as their source. It would be interesting to know how often CoL and GBIF update their records. —  Jts1882 | talk  15:08, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
CoL does monthly updates, but I'm not sure they comprise complete sweeps. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 15:19, 14 January 2023 (UTC)
I suppose the real question is here, why would anyone pay €50 a year for a list like this? Also lol [3] the sole purpose of [Fominykh et al. 2020] was to describe new taxa in order to sell their paratypes. Is this actually something that happens? I would support using CarabCat as a replacement. Hemiauchenia (talk) 21:01, 15 January 2023 (UTC)
Describing the paper as "excellent" is an odd choice of words given the accusation. There is some market for biological specimens. I suppose the value for these wouldn't be as paratypes per se, but as specimens of a "new species" that have been definitively identified (i.e., identified by the describer of the species). Plantdrew (talk) 22:25, 15 January 2023 (UTC)
I don't think CarabCat is suitable because there seems to be no way to make hard links to individual entries, while this can be done for both GBIF and CoL. However, for both of those websites as well, the link consists of the ID (GBIF, CoL) and can't be generated from the taxon name without going through the search interface. Hmm. - Qbugbot linked to CoL during its runs, so presumably this has been solved? Maybe the bot could be employed to help in the changeover? Pinging @Edibobb: for his opinion. --Elmidae (talk · contribs) 09:40, 16 January 2023 (UTC)


There is an edit request to remove Teleostomi as an obsolete clade at Template talk:Taxonomy/Osteichthyes. This is in question because there is a {{Whom}} template noted in the lede of the Teleostomi article that has gone unanswered since Oct 2022. Can anyone shed more light on this? P.I. Ellsworth , ed. put'r there 04:29, 17 January 2023 (UTC)

Invalid taxa and taxoboxesEdit

So a while ago discussions was stirred at the dino[4] and paleo[5] projects about how to treat various types of invalid names (nomina nuda, unnatural groups, populations no longer considered taxa, etc.) in taxoboxes. Instead of discussing it at sub-projects, I think it would be better to have a centralised discussion here, as it would affect all groups. My understanding is that only validly published names should be listed as proper junior synonyms, and only valid taxa should have taxoboxes. I'm not sure if there are actual guidelines for this, perhaps I'm overlooking them, but we probably should have some if we don't. We have various odd situations now, like Barbary lion (now regarded as just a subpopulation, not a subspecies of lion), river dolphin (an unnatural group based on ecology), pheasant (unnatural group), tahr (unnatural group), and probably others. FunkMonk (talk) 22:02, 23 January 2023 (UTC)

My understanding is that all alternative scientific names, not just junior synonyms proper, go in the synonym section of the taxobox as a quick reference of what else it has been called. If I go hunting to find out what became of, say, Panthera pardus tautavelensis, then it's nice to be informed that that name now refers to Panthera uncia pyrenaica.
As far as distinct populations - we have the {{population taxobox}} for that. SilverTiger12 (talk) 22:13, 23 January 2023 (UTC)
Repeating (with a correction) what I said in the paleo discussion. "Validly published" is a term of art in the botanical and bacterial code; "available" is the equivalent concept in the zoological code. Taxonomic databases regularly list invalidly published names as synonyms when the synonymy can be determined (e.g., Larix larix is considered invalid under the botanical code because tautonyms aren't allowed, but that is a retroactive rule, and at the time Larix larix was published there was nothing wrong with it, and it is quite clear that it can be considered a synonym of Larix decidua). Under the bacterial code, there is only one journal (IJSEM) in which names can be validly published; names first published in other journals are regularly validated by (another) publication in IJSEM. Wikipedia has articles on bacteria with no validly published name (e.g. Streptomyces polaris and Streptomyces abyssomicinicus), but which are listed in the LPSN database. Perhaps we shouldn't have articles on invalid bacteria, but I don't think excluding invalidly published names from the synonyms in a taxobox is necessary.
If the intention to exclude names from manuscripts, "(not) effectively published" is the term to use. Really though, lists of synonyms in taxoboxes should be sourced, and I think we should list all the "synonyms" given in the source without being concerned about the technical nomenclatural status of the names.
We also have articles such as Eremophila glabra subsp. South Coast. It's listed in APNI with the full designation "Eremophila glabra subsp. South coast (A.Chapman AC 15)" (i.e., there is a putative "type specimen", AC 15). If that ever gets formally published as a species, is it really helpful to exclude the provisional designation from the synonyms in the taxobox? I'll leave that up to APNI and the other Australian taxonomic databases. Plantdrew (talk) 20:33, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Norfolk Island rail and Providence blue pigeon are a couple of fairly recently created articles about extinct island endemics that have not received formal descriptions, but they have taxoboxes.
There is also Category:Candidatus taxa, which contains articles that perhaps deserve taxoboxes; but should "candidatus" be entered in the binomial parameter? William Avery (talk) 22:20, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
Not sure about the Botanical Code, but as an ICZN Commissioner, I can speak to the Zoological Code. Synonymy is a taxonomic decision, not nomenclatural. You can therefore list anything you want as a synonym as long as the thing you are listing it under is an available name (and as long as other taxonomists don't dispute it, I suppose). Availability is an objective nomenclatural property of a name, regulated by the Code; synonymy is a subjective decision, and not regulated except in deciding which name out of a set of synonyms is the valid name. So: in zoology, the name recognized as correct for a species is the valid name, and all valid names must be nomenclaturally available. Wikipedia does contain a few articles using nomenclaturally unavailable zoological "names" in a binomial form, such as Bombus incognitus and Dermophis donaldtrumpi, but in theory these are just "placeholders" until someone actually formally publishes a name. These pages do NOT have taxoboxes, and I would strongly urge editors NOT to add taxoboxes to them, and maybe even to remove any existing taxoboxes from other articles about unnamed taxa. A link in the article text should be sufficient to point readers to related taxa. It is extremely misleading having a taxobox, as it implies that the name is real. At the very least, the names in such articles need to not be italicized; under the rules of the ICZN, only actual scientific names should be in italics, and any other name, or any rank below subspecies (such as a variety or morph), or interpolated or placeholder characters (e.g., "Bombus sp.") must not be italicized. There are a few taxoboxes that refer to artificial vernacular conglomerates of two or more genera, such as Tarantula hawk and Yellowjacket, but the constituent taxa do have their own articles and their scientific names appear in the taxoboxes. Dyanega (talk) 23:46, 24 January 2023 (UTC)
  • Nice points, I just wonder if some of these things should be documented somewhere. It seems there is consensus for unnatural groups and unpublished taxa not having taxoboxes, but for nomina nuda being listed as synonyms. I wasn't aware there was a specific population taxobox, so I wonder if this could be documented more clearly, and if there are other variations, in the TOL taxobox guideline section. FunkMonk (talk) 22:36, 26 January 2023 (UTC)