Display Hodges number after scientific name for moths

Please add Hodges #s to moth identifications. This adds clarity to the ID and makes it easier to search for similar species. It should come directly after the latin name for the species on the page that appears when you click on a suggestion.

I am admittedly not a moth person, but I don’t really see the point in learning a unique number for every species when a scientific name serves basically the same purpose. I guess you could argue it’s good for cross-compatibility with other references, but then Peterson’s Field Guide from 2018 says “Although Hodges numbers remain in widespread use, we recommend adopting the P3 numbers as your primary reference and labeling tool as these provide proper taxonomic order and will eventually replace Hodges numbers on websites and in publications.”

I might also point out that there is already a lexicon called “Hodges Number” where you could enter these numbers, though I don’t know whether it’s in widespread use (see related request). I also don’t know if there is official staff support for using a lexicon in this way.


I’m not really sure we need numbers here either, but if there must be numbers, please adopt the P3 numbers (full disclosure, I am one of the three “Ps” who created them). The Hodges numbers are horribly out of date after 40 years, and hundreds of species do not have a formal number (there are various competing decimal systems and even those on the “Moth Photographers Group” website are not permanent). Not that the P3 numbers are permanent; they were set up so that a superfamily can be redone/re-sequenced without upsetting the numbers in rest of the superfamilies.


Aren’t these numbering systems solely for North American species? iNaturalist is a global citizen science project, so what do we do with the rest of the World’s moths? I would rather we promote use of the standard binomial nomenclature for moth identification, as we do with all other organisms.


We have the North American 4-letter bird banding codes as common names on iNat. I’m not sure how these moth numbers are used in practice, but maybe they could be added as common names in the same way?


It looks like not very many Hodges numbers have been entered – I checked a couple dozen of the most observed moths of the US and only found one species: Hypena scabra. If anyone is interested in seeing how these numbers currently work on iNat, you can see the taxon page doesn’t show the number at the top, but it is listed down in the names section. (All screenshots show an interface set for English with scientific names first.)

Trying to add an ID by scientific name or common name won’t show the number, but you can use the number to add an ID.

The species box of Explore/Identify will also accept the number, as will the header search bar.


Welcome to the forum!

I think Hodge’s numbers are also for North American species only? So not very fair for the rest of the world.


Please do not add these as common names. Having numbers entered as common names will cause huge issues for the tool that tries to add identifications based on file names on upload. Any photo with a number in it would be at risk of getting that identification added to it.


Presumably it would be fairly easy to exclude all numeric common names from the auto-ID tool. At any rate, no one has yet reported issues and there are already numeric common names.

@tiwane do you think you could give staff opinion on entering numbers like bird banding codes, Hodges, P3, etc. as common names?

1 Like

Perhaps so, that these numbers are primarily for North American species. But they do have a strong and very useful purpose in sending you to the right ‘areas’ to begin your identification investigation. If it appears like a Bi-lobed Looper (Hodges # 8907), but doesn’t quite match, and iNaturalist isn’t too sure of the area, you know where to search with other resources (for N.A.), like Moth Photographers Group. The Hodges numbers are another tool that is useful for making sometimes difficult searches, easier and more accurate.

As @cmcheatle says, common names which are solely numeric could be problematic, so if you want to enter a Hodges number as a common name, please use something like “Hodges#5837”. Same would go for other codes.

I’m not sure exactly what you’re describing here, but iNat does not include or store “extra” information in scientific names, such as authors and years. This extends to Hodges numbers and the like.

I use genus names for that. In N.A. and elsewhere.

I’m going to close this request as we won’t be adding Hodges numbers to scientific names.