Taxon Ranges

The maps on iNaturalist taxon pages display iNaturalist observations, records from the GBIF network, checklist places, and taxon ranges. Taxon ranges are meant to further help the community put observations into context and aid in making sense of and managing taxonomy particularly when splits and lumps are concerned.

Taxon ranges should be global, meaning that the areas outside the polygons anywhere on the globe can be implied to mean outside the range. However, range maps are abstractions of species distributions and are not intended to perfectly describe species distributions. If a taxon range severely misrepresents the distribution of a species by omitting major portions of the distribution (or vice versa) it might be unsuitable. But fine scale issues associated with the edges of individual polygons don’t generally mean that a taxon range is unsuitable.

If you click on the link next to Range in the Overlays menu shown above, you’ll be able to see more information about the taxon range. As with global conservation statuses, taxon ranges typically are sourced from the IUCN Red List. And like global conservation statuses, iNaturalist automatically updates these range maps following IUCN Red List updates.

However, there are two cases where taxon ranges may come from other sources:

  1. IUCN Red List range map for this taxon is unsuitable: Usually, this occurs when there is a taxonomic mismatch between iNaturalist and the IUCN Red List. For example, if Agalychnis callidryas is split on iNaturalist into Agalychnis callidryas and Agalychnis taylori. Then the IUCN Red List range for Agalychnis callidryas may be unsuitably broad and may need to be replaced with an alternate that is manually narrowed.

    In rare cases, there may not be taxonomic mismatch but there may be a severe error in the IUCN Red List range map that means a replacement is warranted. In both of these cases the taxon range description should provide more context.

  2. This taxon is not on the IUCN Red List: For example, after narrowing Agalychnis callidryas to accommodate the taxonomic mismatch described above, the carved off Agalychnis taylor portion of the range would be an example of a taxon that is not on the IUCN Red List (since there it is lumped into Agalychnis callidryas). In other cases, the taxon simply may not have an IUCN Red List assessment or range map but there may be a suitable range map from other sources. In these cases the taxon range description should provide more context on how the range was derived.

Curating Taxon Ranges

Curators can add or edit taxon ranges by navigating to the edit taxon page and then clicking Add taxon range in the lower left.

If you are uploading an IUCN Red List range, make sure you choose This is an IUCN Red List range map and fill out the url, soure_identifier (the IUCN taxonid which is contained in the url, for example for Agalychnis dacnicolor with url https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/55813/53959492 its 55813), and source appropriately (e.g. IUCN 2021-2).

If you are replacing an IUCN Red List range or otherwise uploading a non-IUCN Red List range for a taxon where an IUCN Red List range exists, choose This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable and describe those issues in the description. In the example below, the map for Agalychnis callidryas was manually narrowed to exclude Agalychnis taylori. If an IUCN range map has issues and should be excluded but you are unable to replace it, signal this by creating a This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable taxon range without a kml attachment.

If you are uploading a range for a taxon not on the IUCN Red List, choose This is not an IUCN Red List range map because this taxon is not on the IUCN Red List and describe the source of the range map. In the example below, the map for Agalychnis taylori was manually carved off from Agalychnis callidryas.

Automatically Updating Taxon Ranges

Our goal is to automatically update all IUCN Red List range maps after what are usually biannual updates to the IUCN Red List. When automatically updating IUCN Red List ranges, iNaturalist will update any ranges with This is an IUCN Red List range map checked and will create new ranges for any matching iNaturalist taxa without range maps that are new to the IUCN Red List.

If a This is not an IUCN Red List range map because this taxon is not on the IUCN Red List taxon range exists but that taxon is now on the IUCN Red List (presumably because it was since added), the taxon range will be updated with content from the IUCN Red List and changed to an This is an IUCN Red List range map taxon range.

If a taxon range has This is not an IUCN Red List range map because that map is unsuitable checked, it will not be updated with IUCN Red List content. All ranges that are automatically updated will display as "updated by iNat" in contrast to taxon ranges manually updated which will display the specific updating user.

Revised on September 09, 2021 23:22 by loarie loarie