Adding Killer Whale EcoTypes to iNat

I’m toying with the idea of adding all accepted Killer Whale EcoType’s to iNaturalist and wanted to get folks thoughts on the matter before doing so.

As I understand it they are not taxonomic units, so they shouldn’t be added to the taxonomy, but you could add an Observation Field for this, if one doesn’t already exist, or track them using tags or traditional projects.


Would it not make sense to still add them as “Forms”?

Just following up because the post is listed as Solved but I’m still curious to know.

Despite ecotypes not being considered taxonomic units iNaturalist does still provide taxonomic categories for Forms and Varieties, which would seem to clearly apply here. Orca EcoTypes are identifiable in the field and considered valid DUs by multiple governments, so it seems like it would be very worthwhile to add here.

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Forms and varieties are not accepted in zoological nomenclature, but they are accepted in botanical nomenclature. That’s why they’re included in iNat.


I agree that it’s worthwhile to have a way to identify these eco types, but not via the taxonomy. As Thomas has mentioned, forms and varieties are accepted for plants but not animals. There are other ways to track eco types that would seem more appropriate for this situation.

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But we have animal varieties and forms. And some of the varieties are domesticated birds. Only iNaturalist considers them varieties.

Well curators do things all the time that don’t follow the rules, like adding undescribed species. Just because something is discouraged or not allowed by the ICZN doesn’t stop people from doing it anyway. (Some few people blatantly disregard the code in general.) I can’t speak to these instances as they’re not my taxonomic specialty. I’ve already done away with all the forms for what I work with. I especially don’t know how domestic forms/varieties are governed by bird people outside of the code. Most of the other names should probably be subspecies.


I just don’t see why we wouldn’t include these if they’re readily identifiable in the field, valid conservation units, and increase public understanding of key conservation issues. Here in Canada where I work for example, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has just listed most populations of Orca in the country ranging from Endangered (Southern Residents) to Threatened (Pacific Offshore, Pacific Transient, Northern Resident) to Special Concern (Eastern Arctic). I would love for folks observing those types to know what they’re looking at and the threats they face, and I think iNaturalist is a clear way to do that.

Agree with @deboas and @thomaseverest
Forms shouldn’t be added for animals. This is valuable info to have, but not as a taxonomic designation on iNat. Observation fields and/or projects would be a good way to enter/organize these data.


If these conservation statuses aren’t already present, you can request them to be added or updated.


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