Automatically rename descendant taxa when swapping a genus into a subgenus

When I swap an input genus into an output genus of a different name and answer “Move children to output?” with Yes, the species in the input genus have swaps automatically created and committed. Those output species have updated names matching the output genus. All is well. Curator time is saved.

But when I swap an input genus into an output subgenus of a different name, the children of the input genus aren’t updated even if “Move children to output?” is answered with Yes. They should also be automatically updated with the output genus parent in the output species binomials.

For example, Genus Oxicesta needed to be updated to be a synonym of Subgenus Acronicta (Simyra). Oxicesta has 3 species that should update to have Acronicta binomials grafted under Subgenus Simyra. I committed a swap of Genus Oxicesta to replace it with Subgenus Simyra and answered Move children to output? with Yes. The 3 Oxicesta species were automatically moved under Simyra (correct behavior), but the binomials were not updated (automatically swapped) to become Acronicta binomials.

I will manually update those 3 species swaps, and it’s not much of a problem. But if there had been 50 or 500 species to move and update, this would be tedious and a great case for automation. Surely such larger changes are going to be needed at some point somewhere in the taxonomic tree.

Same for some other taxa, like sections and subsections.

I would prefer the option ‘to move children’ was removed entirely. Under ICZN these recombinations may be created ‘at will’ but under ICN (plants, fungi, algae) any recombination is a nomenclatural act requiring valid/legitimate publication according to the code. For fungi it also requires the combination to be registered with a registration authority. Certainly for fungi it is rare that all the necessary recombinations for child taxa will have been published. Ticking this box creates havoc by creating illegitimate combinations that need to be wound back.

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@bouteloua Yes for those rank combinations, too, where the genus of the descendants changes due to the swap. Thanks for mentioning that.

@cooperj That’s a good point. This request may be need to be restricted to Animalia. And to address that the output names be compliant (e.g, gender agreement), it may be better if the descendant taxon swaps would be automatically generated but not committed. Then give the curator a chance to edit all the output names (suffixes) if needed before committing them.

The main gist of my FR is to automate some more of these, similar to the genus->genus swaps.

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This would definitely be great (speaking from insect swaps). I’ve incidentally noticed that subgenera have a few peculiar properties (i.e. if I most recently clicked on the Taxonomy tab, going to a taxon of the typical ranks will load the Taxonomy tab whereas going to a subgenus will always load the map first). Not sure if any of those differing properties could connect to how subgenera work under swaps.

I’ve been able to do a few work-arounds to get names to work (where Genus A becomes Subgenus A of Genus B; similar issues also occur if Subgenus A of Genus B is elevated to the status of Genus A). Basically, at present, the swap would have to be done for Genus A into a manually-created copy of Genus B, requiring both be at the genus-level, with children moved to the copy of Genus B. Then copy of Genus B is edited to be renamed as A, classed as a subgenus, and grafted under Genus B. It’s definitely a clunky workaround but gets the desired results without manually having to swap each species - which would be problematic with some bee groups that can have 50-100 species within a single subgenus (well, so long as there isn’t any error along the way).

It would be great to be able to do so without jumping through hoops (and without having to do things more manually if there’s a single mistake in the process that results in the failure to auto-generate swaps for the species).

I’d also agree that it would be nice to be able to check through gender agreement beforehand (I’ve normally just done those as separate swaps before handling the genus, itself). That could certainly streamline matters a bit, especially if these emendations to subsequent swaps could be done on a single page (say, the verification page before commitment could include series of text boxes, similar to the taxon selection box for a swap, denoting each swap and permitting editing of to-be-generated swaps before commitment). Perhaps something like this could also be used to exclude particular species from the auto-generated swaps (which may also be somewhat useful for some of the differences between ICZN and ICN).

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Any links to specific examples?

Any links to specific examples @treichard?

Here are links for the Oxicesta-Acronicta example.

Initially, Genus Oxicesta was active and contained 3 species: O. serratae, O. geographica, and O. chamoenices. I needed to synonymize (swap) Genus Oxicesta into Subgenus Acronicta (Simyra) and have these 3 species gain Acronicta binomials (Acronicta serratae etc.).

I committed the Oxicesta to Simyra swap first:

That put the 3 Oxicesta species under Subgenus Simyra. Then I manually created the three swaps for the Oxicesta species at the top of
to change the first word of the binomials to Acronicta.

The way I wish this would have worked:

  1. I make a draft of the Genus Oxicesta to Subgenus Simyra swap with Move children to output? answered as Yes, same as I actually did.
  2. I click a new button available on that swap that will make drafts of the 3 species taxon swaps that change the first word of the binomials from Oxicesta to Acronicta. The swaps appear in the same Change Group as the original. Any new output species that didn’t already exist are created (with Acronicta as the first word of the binomial). I am given permission to directly edit the scientific name of all these output taxa.
  3. I edit any specific epithets in the output taxon names as needed (e.g., for gender agreement). For any I change, I do this once in the editable Scientific Name field at the top left of the Edit Taxon page. When I save the change, the corresponding scientific name in the Names section also updates, so I don’t have to manually change both.
  4. I commit the first swap (Oxicesta to Simyra) using a new option to automatically commit the three species taxon swaps at the same time. That is, I click only one Commit button and all of these swaps are committed.