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Taxonomix anarchy

The latest issue of British Wildlife magazine mentions the extensive taxonomic revisions to the Plantae, as detailed in “Stace 4” ( Clive Stace: New Flora of the British Isles Paperback – Feb 2019). It cites the issue of the Ragworts, now split into Senecio and Jacobaea: Good old Senecio jacobaea has become Jacobaea vulgaris, f’rinstance.
I guess that most of the revisions are the result of DNA analysis, but the upshot for iSpot users is that the already geriatric database will now be another giant leap behind.
I’m assuming that we have to live with that, but what interests me is what is considered the “definitive” database - I’m hopelessly out of touch with academic biology. Is there a single source, or do the clever people (I’m not using it, as Farage does, pejoratively) have to refer to several sources?

There is no definitive database; taxonomists are allowed to have different opinions. Whether is a complete database depends on the taxonomic group involved.

For plants there is no complete database - Plants of the World Online is currently the best single site, but there are others (The Plant List, Tropicos), and a variety of regional sites (African Flowering Plant Database, USDA, Euro+Med Database).

Elsewhere there is Mammal Species of the World, Fishbase, IOC World Bird List, …

Thanks for that. On the walk yesterday (a couple of “finds” posted here), the discussion briefly turned to the changes in the latest Stace. One of the group (no slouch when it comes to grasses in particular) said that he dreaded having to check all the systematic names as a result. A cynic replied that if he waited for the next edition, they might mostly have reverted to the old ones…

The 1st edition of Stace had 1 species of scaly male fern (with subspecies); the 3rd edition has 3 species; and the 4th has reverted to 1 species. (Sell & Murrell, who are splitters, have 8 species, and describes some of those species as apomictic aggregates.)

But reversion to an older name isn’t all that common.