How to Curate Nomen Dubium Taxa?

In an attempt to bring the Orthoptera flags done to a reasonable level, I encountered this peculiar situation. Several members of the genus Malgasia are on iNat but not on Orthoptera Species Files, the taxonomic source for iNat. I did a quick google search and all of the species flagged in this genus showed up on National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and these species on based on mtDNA testing. However, they do not say anything else about the species, including who was the describer and when. I cannot find any other source that uses these names.

My guess is, under proper nomencultural rules, these organisms are using “illegal” names. I have no doubt these species exist but you can’t just slap a scientific name to it and call it good, that’s just poor science. Getting to the point, if these names were in OSF, I think they’d be call nomen dubium. From a curating standpoint, how should we treat these names? Do we just inactive them? To add to our problems, three species were officially described in the 21st century so any of these doubtful names might actually be one of those new species.


I don’t know this group, but I definitely advocate against including any unpublished or otherwise invalid scientific names (if that’s what they turn out to be) in the iNat taxonomy. It’s a slippery slope that invites abuse and chaos.


I can’t speak to the broader question nor the specifics of Orthoptera taxonomy, but it looks like the genus is indeed on OSF, with citations for following up current validity. Are your species not listed here? I didn’t see anything with that genus listed on Zoobank, so if they’re newly described it might not be valid yet (or ever).

Edit: I see that some of the iNat species are indeed not on the OSF list. My bad. They could be works in prep where the authors didn’t do a good job of embargoing their manuscript names?

In my area I set them inactive and add a comment in the notes section of the taxonomy framework document.


The genus exists on OSF with a good number of species but if you filter the flags down to Orthoptera on iNat, you’ll see a handful of flags with names that only occur on NCBI and no where else in literature.

Edit: I just happened to click on the “Edit Taxon” button on one of these species and the external name provider was EOL. They have all five names but they are labelled as “unresolved names” as they say in their notes “recognized by NCBI”.

Where do I find the notes section? Or does Orthoptera not have one since it has no taxonomy framework? It just follows OSF as a external authority.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.