Adjust how species complexes are displayed

“Complex” umbrella taxa are currently listed under two different ways:

Genus species (non-italic, so distinguishable from an actual Genus species taxa that way)
Complex Genus species (also non-italic).

I’d encourage it to be displayed a bit more usefully. The first example is completely misleading, because it just reads as the full species. The italicizing difference is not sufficient. In the second case, it reads weirdly and the word “Complex” should at least supercede the taxa name. In Europe, these cases were treated with the “agg.” abbreviation. For instance, Mesapamea secalis as a complex was labelled as " “Mesapamea secalis agg.”. Agg. meaning “aggregate of species”.

Since we’ve adapted the “complex” heading for European species like Rubus fruticosus that are labelled with “agg.”, how would you all feel if complexes in general were labelled this way in a global and non-European sense? There’s no formal treatment really for this nomenclature overseas, to my knowledge. I figure inheriting that would be worthwhile.

PS. Making complexes as a level is pretty tough, since iNat tends to block them as being “a name already used as a child under this parent”. Any solution for this?

Yes, this really needs to be looked at. As you say having the “Complex” precede the species name is pretty confusing. As for adopting ‘complex’ in place of ‘agg.’ that makes sense as it’s more broadly applicable. As far as I know, ‘aggregate’, used in this sense is a purely botanical term with zoologists speaking of species complexes.

I hadn’t realised that iNat blocks complex names when the species the complex is named for is also a child under the parent. This may explain why a lot of valid Rubus species were sunk into the Rubus fruticosus species record before it was then converted to “Complex Rubus fruticosus” leaving iNat short of several species includng the nominate species. One work around appears to be to remove the parent from the species, temporarily, then set up the species complex record and graft the orphaned species record onto it (along with any others that belong). To prevent more messes like the Rubus fruticosus one mentioned it would be good if a Complex record couldn’t become active until it parented at least one species record.

In Europe the “agg.” label is pretty diverse and was formerly more widely used outside of plants. For instance Arion ater agg., and several moth ones. It then became more commonly used once species complexes were identified within common plant groups such as Taraxacum officinale, Portulaca oleracea, and so on.