Help with taxonomy

We are preparing to update the ispot global species dictionary. It is a very large task.
However one part where the community could help us, and actually global taxonomy in general, is with matching up our ispot global dictionary with the up to date global dictionary. Both of these dictionaries are from catalogue of life ( COL | The Catalogue of Life) however our version is old and has some differences with the current version. There are about 280 taxa where we have observations and there is a difference between the names on the two dictionaries that need resolving. I have dealt with a few so there are about 250 left to do.

If anyone wants to help then let me know. It is actually rather an interesting task as you get to understand a lot about taxonomy and what bits ‘accidentially’ get left out as dictionaries are updated. All taxonomic groups need work but there are more issues with invertebrates and plants than other groups as expected.

Basically what is involved is looking up on the web the taxon that does not match and trying to find out why it does not match e.g. has it just been left out (and needs to be reported to catalogue of life) or has there been a name change that has been missed or the group been split and so does not exist anymore etc.

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Send me a list, and I’ll see what I can do - I’m reasonably au-fait with taxonomy.

This does sound interesting.
So file this response under willing but maybe not fully able - but seriously, willing to help if I possibly can since this will be an important upgrade. Might need an example…

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Same here: a worked example would be helpful in getting started.

I would be willing to help with birds. Don’t understand insect taxonomy.

It is mainly insects and plants left in the global dictionary as I have dealt with most of the other groups but there are a wider range of taxa to deal with in the southern african dictionary including some birds I think if you wanted to look at that one instead. Will send something later today.

Anyone having a go at this let me know how you are getting on as it is a very difficult task although can also be very interesting seeing all these taxa that you may normally never come across.

Is this of any use?Updated 2024
Would it be of any help if I tagged my beetles where Riaan has commented?

the website might be useful, we really need to cross link to the new col dictionary so either find a matching taxon there (which may be a synonym) or mark the entry something that col needs to add to their dictionary.

Had a go at this one

(old dic. insists on Grewia occidentalis var. occidentalis )
ZA Redlist no longer links
EOL No results
See how similar (but just getting sidetracked)

iNat gets around this by omitting var so Grewia occidentalis.occentalis
But not sure if that would be the route you’d want to take
Going back to Flora of Mozambique

Our websites:

Flora of Malawi : Grewia occidentalis var. occidentalis
Flora of Zimbabwe : Grewia occidentalis var. occidentalis
Flora of Zimbabwe : cultivated Grewia occidentalis var. occidentalis
THEN Grewia occidentalis L. var. litoralis Wild

Interesting they all retain the var

LACHENALIA may be quite a challenge with recent name changes - so I’ve put some bits together if anyone is interested. I found that the names may still be the same but the distribution very specific, so mine didn’t match. I don’t think the book is available on line.
This is what I’ve collected so far (includes the SANBI list)

MARCH 2024
iSpot Showing 904 observations

PBS link There are around 133 accepted species (according to Plants of the World, 2018). Most of these have a dormancy period and grow new roots each year. Polyxena has been transferred to Lachenalia by J.C. Manning, P. Goldblatt & M.F. Fay in A revised generic synopsis of Hyacinthaceae in sub-Saharan Africa, including new combinations and the new tribe Pseudoprospereae, Edinburgh Journal of Botany 60(3): 533-568 (2004).
The first complete illustrated systematic monograph of this genus by Graham Duncan The Genus Lachenalia was published in 2012. (Reviewed by Ted Oliver E.G.H. Oliver. Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University,
Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
E-mail address: [email protected].) Useful address for Ericas.
Look-up: STRELITZIA 29 (2012)
Lachenalia by G.D. Duncan
Polyxena group
Lachenalia group

Look-up: STRELITZIA 30 (2013) 80 Lachenalia.
HYACINTHACEAE by J.C. Manning & P. Goldblatt; Lachenalia by G.D. Duncan
SANBI Redlist Threatened Species Programme | SANBI Red List of South African Plants
Species list: Lachenalia - needs checking
List keeps stalling

Might be fun if one has the time

From the list
Needs a var to link to iSpot’s dictionary

Erica cerinthoides L.
This species is accepted, and its native range is S. Africa.

[Includes 6 images]
Includes 2 Accepted Infraspecifics
Erica cerinthoides var. barbertona (Galpin) Bolus
The native range of this variety is Northern Prov. to KwaZulu-Natal.
.iSpot bas 2 observations - Confidence likely
PZA Most of the differences are found in the summer rainfall region resulting in the recognition of a separate variety Erica cerinthoides var. barbertona , which has short flower tubes. A white flowering form has also been recorded from Mpumalanga and Swaziland.
Erica cerinthoides var. cerinthoides
2024 :iSpot Showing 265 observations

Needs a var to link to iSpot’s dictionary

EOL No results
2024 iSpot has143 observations of Oxalis pes-caprae var. pes-caprae
EOL has no results
Oxalis pes-caprae L.
First published in Sp. Pl.: 434 (1753)
The native range of this species is Namibia to Cape Prov. It is a tuberous geophyte
[Includes 3 images]

Includes 2 Accepted Infraspecifics
Oxalis pes-caprae var. pes-caprae .
Oxalis pes-caprae var. sericea (Thunb.) T.M.Salter
The native range of this variety is S. Cape Prov.
SEE ISpot map view to check ihis

Please NOTE Oxalis pes-caprae var. sericea can be annuals or perennials that have anywhere from three to ten leaflets. Due to their similar appearance, these plants are often mistakenly referred to as clover.
iSpot shows a hairy plant

EOL has no results

Has the dictionary update been completed now @miked. I never heard any more since I submitted the bird data (though I may have missed it, of course).

Good to remind me.
The programmer Chris took early retirement couple of weeks ago and although he is still on iSpot as a normal user he is not allowed to work on the software anymore due to regulations associated with early retirement, this is a great shame as we finally managed to get the new dictionary up and working on the test server (at 10pm on day before he retired!) and I suspect he would have been keen to continue until it was on the main server. But we can’t put it on the live server until it has (a) been tested and (b) we have programmers who are able to follow all his notes to make it live. For technical reasons we don’t want people to do the testing yet. The new programmer has different expertise and is working on a different aspect of iSpot, a modification of projects, so unfortunately the new global dictionary is unlikely to be live in the near future.

However the contribution of the ispot community to checking the dictionary itself has had other benefits as the comments were fed back to the editors of Catalogue of Life so they can fill in items which we spotted as missing and deal with other issues we found - this will benefit all those people around the world who use CoL even if not iSpot directly (yet).

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He’ll be missed! Thanks, Chris.

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Thanks for the update @miked

Thanks for your work, Chris; you are missed from the very first day of your retirement. Looking forward to seeing your posts here.

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