Resolving discrepancies using iNaturalist's "Framework Relationships"

A new feature has been added to iNaturalist that replaces "complete" taxonomies with Taxonomic Frameworks. (You can read more about them here.) This is a very helpful tool for taxon curators because it allows them to follow flags and immediately locate taxonomic discrepancies between iNaturalist and our authorities. Using this new tool, @loarie was able to identify a number of issues between the cephalopod taxonomy on iNaturalist and WoRMS / MolluscaBase. He resolved most of them himself, but for the outstanding issues remaining, I have addressed them and have outlined the changes below:

Swap Argonauta nodosa (iNat) with Argonauta nodosus (WoRMS) [ref]
Swap Graneledone verrucosa media (iNat) with Graneledone verrucosa (WoRMS) [ref]
Parateuthis tunicata (iNat/WoRMS) is an accepted species on WoRMS and should be left alone; its parent genus Parateuthis (iNat) is nomen dubium on WoRMS [ref]
Swap Idioteuthis magnoteuthis (iNat) with genus Magnoteuthis (WoRMS) [ref]
Swap Eogonatus tinro (iNat) with Gonatopsis okutanii (WoRMS); while the parent genus Eogonatus is active on WoRMS, it has no active children and has consequently been swapped with Gonatopsis on iNaturalist [ref]
Swap Histioteuthis corona inermis (iNat) with Histioteuthis inermis (WoRMS) [ref]
Swap Cirroctopus antarctica (iNat) with Cirroctopus antarcticus (WoRMS) [ref]
Pterygioteuthis giardi giardia (iNat) is not on WoRMS; it is an EOL import; on WoRMS, the parent species Pterygioteuthis giardia has no attributed subspecies on WoRMS; tentatively swapping it into its parent
Swap Rondeletiola capensis (iNat) with Inioteuthis capensis (WoRMS) [ref]
Swap Idioteuthis idioteuthis (iNat) with Idioteuthis (WoRMS) [ref]
Swap Graneledone verrucosa verrucosa (iNat) with Graneledone verrucosa [ref]
• Genus Polypus (WoRMS) has no valid children; it should not be integrated into iNaturalist [ref]
• Section(?) glaukopis-group has no descendants and is unreviewed on WoRMS; it likely represents either Mastigoteuthis glaukopis as a species complex or a subtribe-esch group; it should not be integrated into iNaturalist [ref]

Despite being a complete taxon, there were a few issues with iNaturalist's cephalopod taxonomy. This is in part due to the fact that cephalopod taxonomy is frequently in flux (and thus changes frequently) and that WoRMS adopts new taxonomic schemes uncritically. One of the consequences of the lattermost point is that a singular species is recognized under two separate, valid names on WoRMS, but that is a mater to address in a later journal post. I think further review is necessary to mitigate these developments, but the issues explicitly outlined on the Framework Relationships have been resolved. I think the tool has a lot of potential, and I look forward to using it more in the future.

Posted by bobby23 bobby23, November 20, 2018 02:36

Comments

perfect thanks - now just 4 deviations from WoRMs https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47459-Cephalopoda/taxonomy_details
I added you as a taxon curator for Mollusks (down to family) if you want to take a look at any of the deviations there https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47115-Mollusca/taxonomy_details - or let me know if you want to pick off another Mollusk Class...

Posted by loarie about 3 years ago (Flag)

Hi, @loarie. I would happy to help sort out the other classes of molluscs, but I won't be available for those endeavors until the completion of my fall semester in three weeks. (I'm still in college.) I'm sorry that I can't be of more immediate help.

The majority of the mollusc classes are actually small: there are less than 200 species in Caudofoveata alone. However, there are over 11,000 bivalves and 62,000 gastropods on MolluscaBase. The latter is roughly 6× the size of the largest vertebrate class (Aves) and would require a lot of curatorial cooperation to refine. Beyond bringing higher-ranking classification inline with MolluscaBase, I think Bivalvia and Gastropoda are just too large for a couple of people to handle on their own. When we do ultimately refine our mollusc taxonomy below family, I would recommend reaching out to other mollusc folks on iNaturalist, (such as @susanhewitt and @anudibranchmom) and maybe @jonathan142 would be willing to continue helping us.

Posted by bobby23 almost 3 years ago (Flag)

I don't mind helping out a little bit with Gastropoda, or maybe Bivalvia, but I don't want to get bogged down in this kind of task, as it will be a vast amount of work, and I already spend a lot of time ID-ing for others, as well as making my own observations, adding new species to the iNat database and so on..

These days there are several other experienced Mollusca folks on iNat, and some of them are even Curators. Whether they will want to do this kind of work is something they will need to be asked.

Posted by susanhewitt almost 3 years ago (Flag)

most of the work is making maintaining deviations from MolluscaBase which is why my preference is to just stick to MolluscaBase unless there's a really important reason to deviate (ie an error in MolluscaBase). The other bit of work is figuring out what to do with taxa we already have in iNat that are not in MolluscaBase. ie what taxon should we swap it into (e.g. what do we do with Family Runcinidae https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/49837-Runcinidae/taxonomy_details)? The rest can be mostly automated

Posted by loarie almost 3 years ago (Flag)

I’ve been meaning to talk to you about Runcinidae specifically, @loarie, because it is an accepted family on MolluscaBase (http://molluscabase.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=1751). We don’t have to do anything to it.

Posted by bobby23 almost 3 years ago (Flag)

ah yeah - thats a more complex issue stemming from an error in WoRMs. They have Runcinidae descending from Runcinacea which they have as an unaccepted name rather than Runcinida which they have as the valid name http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=479011 - so bad example for the point I was trying to make (and will fix that mess).

Better example would be Aporrhaididae
https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/59408-Aporrhaididae/taxonomy_details
which a little digging shows WoRMs has as a synonym of Aporrhaidae
http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=534359
those kind of things could use help resolving

Posted by loarie almost 3 years ago (Flag)

If you find outright errors on WoRMS, they will be grateful if you tell them what is wrong. And they will fix it.

Posted by susanhewitt almost 3 years ago (Flag)

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