March 03, 2019

Proposed re-organization of Rodentia taxa between Order and Family

Rodentia is the most speciose mammalian order, comprising of about 40% of all living mammals (Behringer et al. 2006). Rodentia is also one of the most "diverse" orders, in a sense that all living members are divided into ~35 families. Compared to Chiroptera, the second most speciose mammalian order, there are no taxonomic ranks between order and family on iNaturalist for Rodentia, nor are there any acknowledged by iNat's external mammal authority, the Mammal Diversity Database (MDD). The lack of such ranks potentially isolates rodent observations at the order level, and transitively limits the potential for a rodent observation to reach a specific identification (e.g. a rodent is "clearly" a caviomorph, but the discrepancies between a slender capybara [Caviidae] and a large agouti [Dasyproctidae] is less apparent to the user, so they leave their ID at "Rodentia"). Additionally, the lack of ranks between order and family make navigating the rodent section of our taxonomic tree potentially more overwhelming, as users see a wall of families with similar vernaculars and scientific names instead of suborders and superfamilies that contain members of more immediately diagnosable relatability.

Even in acknowledgment of these issues, it is understandable why iNat and the MDD do not recognize ranks between order and family. The relatedness between the rodent families has historically been very difficult to understand due to the independent emergence of traits found across distantly related taxa. For a long time, the tenability of groups - particularly suborders such as Castiomorpha and Myomorpha - was dubious. However, the proposal I suggest below follows Fabre et al. 2012. It is an extremely adequate overview of recent phylogenetic work done on rodents and validates the relatedness of certain families (including the tenability of the rodent suborders). With this study in mind (and with slight modifications to accommodate the families recently split [e.g. Zenkrellidae, Sminthidae] - as acknowledged by the MDD), here is my suggested revision of Rodentia (new taxonomic entries are bolded for clarity):

Order Rodentia
Suborder Anomaluromorpha
.....↪ Anomaluridae
.....↪ Pedetidae
.....↪ Zenkrellidae
Suborder Castorimorpha
.....↪ Castoridae
.....↪ Geomyidae
.....↪ Heteromyidae
Suborder Ctenohystrica
.....↪ Infraorder Hystricognathi
..........↪ Parvorder Caviomorpha
...............↪ Superfamily Cavioidea
....................↪ Caviidae
....................↪ Cuniculidae
....................↪ Dasyproctidae
....................↪ Dinomyidae
...............↪ Superfamily Chinchilloidea
....................↪ Abrocomidae
....................↪ Chinchillidae
...............↪ Superfamily Erethizontoidea
....................↪ Erethizontidae
...............↪ Superfamily Octodontoidea
....................↪ Capromyidae
....................↪ Ctenomyidae
....................↪ Echimyidae
....................↪ Octodontidae
..........↪ Bathyergidae
..........↪ Heterocephalidae
..........↪ Hystricidae
..........↪ Petromuridae
..........↪ Thryonomyidae
.....↪ Superfamily Ctenodactyloidea
..........↪ Ctenodactylidae
..........↪ Diatomyidae
Suborder Myomorpha
.....↪ Superfamily Dipodoidea
..........↪ Dipodidae
..........↪ Sminthidae
..........↪ Zapodidae
.....↪ Superfamily Muroidea
..........↪ Cricetidae
..........↪ Calomyscidae
..........↪ Muridae
..........↪ Nesomyidae
..........↪ Platacanthomyidae
..........↪ Spalacidae
Suborder Sciuromorpha
.....↪ Aplodontidae
.....↪ Gliridae
.....↪ Sciuridae

Posted on March 03, 2019 23:52 by bobby23 bobby23 | 4 comments | Leave a comment

August 31, 2018

Master list of insect authorities (class Insecta), a work in progress

"There are hardly any world authorities on any insect order, let alone all insects, so it's a tricky group." - Scott Loarie
It would be incredibly meaningful if we were able to find accredited authorities for at least most insect orders. This list documents my attempts to find them. Keep in mind that - with the exception of complete taxa and AntWeb - most of these authorities have not been officially adopted by iNaturalist as references for our Tree of Life and should not be used as a curatorial reference before consulting the iNat community and an admin. A list of implemented authorities can be found on the Curation Guide.

Italics denote an officially adopted authority.

Orders with complete sources

Order Blattodea (Cockroaches and Termites): Cockroach Species File Online
Order Dermaptera (Earwigs): Dermaptera Species File Online
Order Embiidina (Webspinners): Embioptera Species File Online
Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies): Ephemeroptera of the World
Order Mantodea (Mantises): Mantodea Species File Online
Order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies): World Odonata List
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids): Orthoptera Species File [discussion]
Order Phasmida (Stick Insects): Phasmida Species File Online
Order Plecoptera (Stoneflies): Plecoptera Species File Online
Order Psocodea (Lice): Psocodea Species File Online
Order Siphonaptera (Fleas): FLEAS
Order Thysanoptera (Thrips): Paraneoptera Species File Online
Order Trichoptera (Caddisflies): Trichoptera World Checklist Database
Order Zoraptera (Zorapterans): Zoraptera Species File
Superorder Neuropterida (Neuropteridans - including Neuroptera, Megaloptera, and Raphidioptera): Neuropterida Species of the World (NSW)
______• Order Megaloptera (Alderflies, Dobsonflies, and Fishflies)
______• Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Lacewings and Allies)
______• Order Raphidioptera (Snakeflies)

Orders with partial sources

• Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
______• Family Phalacridae (Shining Flower Beetles): Phalacridae database by M. Gimmel
______• Superfamily Curculionoidea (Weevils): Curculionidae database by N. Yunakov
Order Diptera (Flies):
______• Family Culicidae (Mosquitoes): Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory
• Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps, and Sawflies)
______• Epifamily Anthophila (Bees): Discover Life bee species guide and world checklist
______• Family Formicidae (Ants): AntWeb
______• "micro parasitic hymenoptera": Hymenoptera Online (HOL) [discussion]
• Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
______• Families Nymphalidae, Papilionidae, and Pieridae (Most Butterflies) WORLDWIDE: ButterflyCorner's Family Tree
______• Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies) in Africa: African Butterfly Database
______• Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies) in India: Butterflies of India
______• Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies) in North America: A Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada
• Order Notoptera (Notopterans)
______• Suborder Mantophasmatodea (Rock Crawlers): Mantophasmatodea Species File Online
• Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Hoppers, Aphids, and Allies)
______• Family Miridae (Plant Bugs): On-line Systematic Catalog of Plant Bugs by R. Schuh [suggested by @wongun]
______• Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Cicadas, Hoppers, and Spittlebugs): World Auchenorrhyncha Database
______• Superfamily Aphidoidea (Aphids): Aphid Species File Online
______• Superfamily Coreoidea (Leaf-footed Bugs): Coreoidea Species File Online
______• Superfamily Lygaeoidea (Seed Bugs): Lygaeoidea Species File Online

Orders completely missing sources

• Order Archaeognatha (Bristletails)
• Order Mecoptera (Scorpionflies, Hangingflies, and Allies)
• Order Strepsiptera (Twisted-winged Insects)
• Order Zygentoma (Silverfishes)

Posted on August 31, 2018 04:15 by bobby23 bobby23 | 32 observations | 10 comments | Leave a comment

August 06, 2018

PUBLISHED DRAFT: Octopodiformes is ready to be made 'Complete' - working towards a 'Cephalopod Working Group'

@loarie, @bouteloua, @susanhewitt, @anudibranchmom, @maractwin
Hello! This post is a draft for a the first news post in the 'Cephalopod Working Group' project (as well as a formal announcement that I have made Octopodiformes 'complete'). If the Curator Guide is to believed, I did thd necessary groundwork for a 'Cephalopod Working Group' project and I hope we can start it soon. Please let me know what you guys think.

It has become evident recently that iNaturalist is working towards having complete taxon schemes and that they are an important part of the site's future. (I'm particularly excited to see how many insect orders can be completed in the future.) In order to help get as many taxa complete as possible, today I combed through Octopodiformes (the octopuses and vampire squid) to make sure our taxonomic backbone mirrors the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). I'm happy to report that we are now up-to-date, with the exception of the following discrepancies:

intentional deviations from WoRMS:
Japetella heathi is an unreviewed taxon on WoRMS. I did not add it to iNaturalist and I recommend waiting on clarification from WoRMS.
Eledone nigra is mysteriously not anywhere on WoRMS. It is not even a junior synonym. This taxon is not too obscure (it has its own Wikipedia page) and is acknowledged by SANBI. I think it should be considered valid here and left alone.
Polypus was not added to iNat. While it is an accepted genus on WoRMS, it has no valid children. Its only child is nomen dubium. All other members of Polypus have been moved elsewhere, primarily to Octopus or Muusoctopus.
Sasakinella was not added to iNat. It is another “accepted” genus on WoRMS with no valid children.

discrepancy from WoRMS that needs correcting:
• [FIXED] The vampire squid order is misspelled "Vampyromorphida" when it should be "Vampyromorpha". I noted it in a flag here.

other potential issues:
Opisthoteuthis albatrossi is accepted on WoRMS, but its validity is dubious. It closely resembles Opisthoteuthis californiana and some people consider them synonymous. It has not been seriously reviewed since its discovery in 1920.
Octopus hongkongensis, an accepted taxon on WoRMS, was a junior synonym of Enteroctopus dofleini on iNat. I suspect this comes from EOL’s taxonomic backbone. I added it to iNat because we recognize WoRMS as an authority over EOL, which is not always the most accurate taxonomic resource. Additional authorities like SeaLifeBase treat O. hongkongensis as its own taxon and pictures of the octopuses do not resemble E. dofleini.
Octopus sinensis, an accepted taxon on WoRMS, was a junior synonym of Octopus vulgaris on iNat. Same issue as O. hongkongensis.
Octopus stictochrus, an accepted taxon on WoRMS, was a junior synonym of Octopus penicillifer on iNat. Same issue as O. hongkongensis.
Octopus warringa, an accepted taxon on WoRMS, was a junior synonym of Octopus huttoni on iNat. Same issue as O. hongkongensis.
Scaeurgus patagiatus, an accepted taxon on WoRMS, was a junior synonym of Scaeurgus unicirrhus on iNat. Same issue as O. hongkongensis.

While I love cephalopods, I would not call myself an expert on them, so please let me know if there are any other discrepancies and I will add them to the list above. I have tagged the relevant people below who I believe would be great taxon curators.

Posted on August 06, 2018 03:12 by bobby23 bobby23 | 6 comments | Leave a comment

August 18, 2017

Entry #1: Breath of the wild (at Major Michael Donnelly Land Preserve, South Windsor, CT)

Yesterday, after over a year of trial-and-error, I acquired my driver's license. With my new found freedom, I decided to explore some of the nature areas in my home town of South Windsor. Ultimately, I managed to only go to one due to warnings about thunderstorms, but my area of choice - Major Michael Donnelly Land Preserve - is probably the largest, and one which I have personal history with. When I was a Boy Scout, I contributed to the development to quite a few trademark features of the Land Preserve, including the butterfly garden and the many bridges going over marshy landscape. This was many years ago. In returning to the Land Preserve, I got a little chocked up seeing how rich it has become with wildlife. Driving there was also an experience, as this was the first time I drove without someone else in the care. It was a special feeling, a sense of freedom.

I didn't think I see as much as I did: the sky was a thick, ominous gray, and it is past the main breeding season for most summer animals. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The main path was lined with flowers, with each cluster covered with bees. At least three species were observed (as listed bellow). A wide array of birds were observed, but they almost all immediately flew away once they saw me. The only time they remained close was when I was already fixated on the sole mammal I saw in the Land Preserve, the rare New England cottontail. I did not even know they lived in South Windsor, and if my assertion proves accurate this would be the first time the New England cottontail has been documented in Connecticut on iNaturalist.

Other animal species, including a painted turtle, I observed are listed bellow. I did not formerly write down all the plants and fungi I saw, but the observations I made of them are attached to this journal entry regardless.

Note: bolded titles are species I saw, but I was unable to upload them to iNaturalist.

- Sylvilagus transitionalis (New England cottontail)

- Corvus brachyrhynchos (American crow)
- Dumetella carolinensis (gray catbird)
- Hirundo spp. (typical swallows)
- Mimus polyglottos (northern mockingbird)
- Turdus migratorius (American robin)

- Chrysemys picta picta (eastern painted turtle)

- Musca spp. (housefly)
- Toxomerus geminatus (eastern calligrapher)
- Xenox tigrinus (tiger bee fly)
Bees and ants
- Apis mellifera (European honey bee)
- Bombus impatiens (common eastern bumblebee)
- Camponotus spp. (carpenter ant)
- Ceratina spp. (small carpenter bee)
- Vespula maculifrons (eastern yellowjacket)
- Xylocopa virginica (eastern carpenter bee)
Butterflies and moths
- Danaus plexippus (monarch)
- Hemaris thysbe (hummingbird clearwing moth)
- Papilio glaucus (eastern tiger swallowtail)
- Papilio troilus (spicebrush swallowtail)
- Polygonia interrogationis (question mark butterfly)
- Erythemis simplicicollis (eastern pondhawk)
- Plathemis lydia (common whitetail)
- Sympetrum vicinum (autumn meadowhawk)
- Unknown, small, black beetle found on flowering plants

Posted on August 18, 2017 21:55 by bobby23 bobby23 | 76 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment