Basic taxon swap - the first time

Ok, so I just tried to swap the old name of Sphinx geminus, which was still active on iNat with Lintneria geminus, which is the valid name of the taxon. I put the name Sphinx geminus as input and Lintneria geminus as output, filled all the citations and proceeded with the taxon swap.

What happened later does not have any sense to me. The taxon Sphinx geminus is still active and the taxon Lintneria geminus became a synonym to the genus Sphinx. Like… what? What did I do wrong and how can I undo this? I tried to delete the taxon swap, but it seems, that the change remained.

Please, help! I would like to do more swaps in the Sphingidae taxonomy as its often obsolete here, but now I am confused about how to do it correctly.

Thank you!

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@jiri_hodecek deleting a taxon change has no impact on it. It will not change back the data to its state before the change was activated. There is no way for curators to ‘undo’ a taxon change once activated.

In cases where a change done has caused major problems, then site staff can undo one, but this is very server intensive, so smaller issues need to be manually fixed.

Because you have deleted the taxon change itself it is hard to tell exactly what happened, but based on the fact the name L. geminus is now listed as a synonym of the genus Sphinx, I suspect what you actually did was put the fields into the reverse boxes.

Do you remember what type of taxon swap you tried to run (split, swap etc) ?

I can’t even find an inactive taxon page for L. geminus which should still exist after a taxon swap has been run → List of all active and inactive Lintneria taxa pages on the site


I tried to do taxon swap as mentioned. And I am quite positive I did it correctly, at least I was being very careful where I put what, because I knew it can be irreversible. I have no idea, what happened to be honest. How can I fix it?

I’ve manually readded L. geminus:

Because the name L. geminus was under the genus Sphinx, it seems that you must have put something in the wrong box, for sure. I concur with Chris.

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Here’s a draft swap that I created for you:

I left the source empty because I do not know what source you are using for this.

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It’s still not exactly clear what the taxa change you ran was.

There is still an active taxon poage for S. geminus -

There is now a page for Lintneria geminus which was literally created minutes ago by a different curator.

You can remove the inappropriate synonym on the genus page by simply going there, clicking the edit names and removing it. Although again, it looks like this has already been done.

I’m not really sure there is a way to see what if any observations were impacted due to the deletion of the original taxon change you made.

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If the original L. geminus taxon was still available as inactive, we’d be able to search for any observations with an identification of it, but since it seems to have disappeared, that’s not an option anymore.

I am really sorry about this. I will try to describe the situation to you as best as I can:

Before I did any changes, there were both taxons active on iNat - Spinx geminus and Lintneria geminus. I wanted to merge them into one - Lintneria geminus. Firstly I tried to use the “merge” option, but it did not work, because the output taxon name has to be different from the input ones (I put L. geminus and S. geminus as input and wanted L. geminus as output). So I tried the swap option instead. I put Sphinx geminus as input and put L. geminus as output. Then, it somehow changed from L. geminus as output to Sphinx as output. I have no idea why.

Now I am afraid to do more changes to not screw up even more. There are many other taxons in Sphingidae, which need to be fixed though. Some of them similarly to this case (e.g. Meganoton analis and Notonagemia analis need to be merged in Notonagemia analis as thats the valid name).

Maybe the site lagged and reverted it back to a merge instead of the intended swap?

You can flag taxa to be swapped if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Even if it were somehow set as a merge, it still should have left behind an inactive taxon which doesn’t seem to be there.

Still be comfortable making and adding new changes. If you feel it is safer, try and find ones where there are no observations recorded that would cause any issues to practice on, or save them as a draft and ask another experienced curator(s) to review them before they are committed.

Just don’t delete any that you have run, even if it is successful and looks good as this makes reverse engineering any possible issues almost impossible.


What citation did you have for this? I can commit the change if you don’t wish to.

Yes, I was trying to do that before, but nothing was happening, so I wanted to do it myself now.

Ok, I will try and practise, where it doesnt hurt. I hope I will not do more damage than help…

The citation is: Tuttle, 2007, The Hawkmoths of North America : 97.

I committed the swap, looks like it worked now:

Thank you!