iNaturalist needs a "species group" rank

I have a finite number of minutes in my life, and I've spent far too many of them discussing species complexes vs. species groups with other iNat users. The latest of these discussions is here, and I'm determined that it will be my last. So here's the deal:

A species group is a group of related species that has been defined and named in the literature. It is a useful grouping when a genus (or subgenus) is very large and when there are cases where insects (or their leaf mines, etc.) can be identified as belonging to that group but cannot be identified to species. It is also useful when there are undescribed species that are known to belong to particular species groups; once, for instance, the undescribed birch leafminer in the Stigmella lemniscella group is given a name, I will be able to go through the observations identified as belonging to that group and update their IDs. Going through the thousands of Stigmella observations to look for them would be prohibitively time-consuming.

"Species complex" is typically used to refer to a taxonomically confusing situation where there are multiple biological species going under the same name, and it has not yet been worked out how many species are involved or how to distinguish them. Or this may be known but for practical purposes it is impossible to tell them apart. There can be species complexes within species groups.

iNaturalist does not currently have a "species group" rank, and so to create this grouping, I (and others) have been using the "complex" rank for species groups, adding the word "group" to the name to clarify that it represents a species group and not a species complex. Some people are bothered by this, and go around flagging all of these species groups, saying that the names are malformed. I don't like it either, but it's the best solution I can come up with as long as there is not an option to create a species group. So please vote for this feature request, and then we can all stop wasting our time arguing about this!

Posted on Ιούνιος 12, 2022 0555 ΜΜ by ceiseman ceiseman


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