Species Groups on iNaturalist

About a month ago I made a feature request to add the "species group" taxon rank to the iNaturalist taxonomy: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/create-a-new-taxon-rank-for-inaturalist-the-species-group/14543

This would aide in the identification of speciose genera (e.g. Efferia, Diogmites) where species complexes are not a valid substitute.

Unfortunately, this feature request has not received the attention I think it deserves. If you would like to see this powerful new tool added to our arsenal, please consider voting for this feature on the forum.

@tristanmcknight @b_coulter @pbedell @stevecollins @greglasley @edanko @treegrow

Posted on August 20, 2020 12:54 AM by myelaphus myelaphus


tagging people who might be interested @steve_kerr @trh_blue @aispinsects @upupa-epops @trinaroberts @ameeds @johnklymko @nbdragonflyguy

Posted by edanko almost 4 years ago

Thanks for the tag. I've been following the discussion on the Forum.

Posted by astra_the_dragon almost 4 years ago

To help me understand this feature, how would, one place, say, our common eastern Efferia, E. aestuans which is often just identified to Efferia sp. Thanks! Paul p.s. and thanks for all of your asilid IDs!!

Posted by pbedell over 3 years ago

If the species group is implemented as I suggest in the forums, I would create a taxon called "Group Efferia aestuans" which would be equivalent to the "Nerax group" on BugGuide. This would work very similar to species complexes, but just one rank above.

Posted by myelaphus over 3 years ago

In cases where you have a large genus with established subgenera, and there are clearly defined intrasubgeneric 'groups' of species, is the definition of species groups (as proposed above) flexible enough to be applicable, or should 'intraspecific species groups' be distinguished from 'intrasubgeneric species groups'? I may be confusing the concepts of species complexes and species groups, so I'll describe this situation using the following example:

I'm curating the genus Rutilia R-D, 1830 (Diptera: Tachinidae) and its subgenera. For want of better terminology, I have several intrasubgeneric 'sets' of described species. These sets generally contain between two to five members (set membership doesn't overlap), and the species within each set appear to be sympatric. While each set is visually distinctive, and it's relatively trivial to assign observations to their respective sets, the species within these sets can only be reliably separated based on dissected male genitalia - female conspecifics can't be associated at present.

Given that the species within each of these sets are described and are able to be distinguished morphologically, it would seem that the 'species complex' grouping may not be appropriate (I'm unsure of any exact definitions here...)? Instead, these sets may be better treated as 'species groups', based on my interpretation of what's being proposed here, except that these sets are definitely below the subgenus level.

In genera with established subgenera, 'intraspecific species groups' would seem to be at a higher level than subgenera, so, would you therefore need to distinguish between intraspecific and intrasubgeneric species groups? Alternatively, would it be genus dependent? For example, would you consider the species groups within the genus Efferia (myelaphus' example above) effectively equivalent in rank to the species groups within the subgenera of Rutilia, given that Efferia doesn't have established subgenera?

Posted by hinterrandmacroch... over 3 years ago

This is how I understand the two ranks on iNat:

species group: a group of related species (typically 3+ spp.), roughly equivalent to subgenus (but below that rank in the hierarchy). Large subgenera can theoretically have multiple species groups.

species complex: a small group of very closely related species (typically 2-3 spp.) that are difficult or impossible to separate from photos. A species group can theoretically have multiple species complexes.

I'm not sure I see the value in recognizing groups above subgenus. Could you elaborate on that? If I understand correctly, it sounds like you could just expand the concepts of existing subgenera.

Posted by myelaphus over 3 years ago

"roughly equivalent to subgenus (but below that rank in the hierarchy)" - Ok that clears it up for me.

Ok, so species complexes should be fine in this case.


Posted by hinterrandmacroch... over 3 years ago

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments

Gracias al apoyo de:

¿Quiere apoyarnos? Pregúntenos cómo escribiendo a snib.guatemala@gmail.com