How to handle reorganizing a genus of scale insects to match an external reference (ScaleNet)?

102 species are currently in genus Eriococcus on iNat. According to :

  • 60 belong in Acanthococcus
  • 8 belong in Anophococcus
  • 5 should remain
  • 1 to Gossyparia (E spurius → G spuria)
  • 6 to Greenisca
  • 2 to Kaweckia
  • 2 to Neokaweckia
  • 15 belong in Rhizococcus
  • and 1 in Uhleria

Setting aside whether I should proceed or not, because that is best discussed on the flag and the main scale identifiers generally follow whatever is on ScaleNet, I’m wondering about the most efficient way.

One idea is

  1. start by moving all but the first 60 species to other genera with manual swaps
  2. then I could merge “with children” everything remaining into Acanthococcus
  • since the majority of species “belong” there it would save me a lot of name changes
  • and, theoretically, the majority of genus level IDs correspond to these species anyways (as opposed to the new, narrower definition of Eriococcus that would result from these changes).

The main issue with that plan is the 5 species of “true” Eriococcus that would need a temporary home (I could temporarily park them at family level?) while I deconstruct the current version of that genus.

Comments? Critiques?

In a nutshell:

  1. Create any of the genera that don’t already exist.
  2. Use caution conducting any operations “with children.” Be sure that every single “child” will end up with the right name with the correctly gendered termination before you do it. For some children, a different name may have priority in its new genus.
  3. Otherwise, where including children doesn’t work, manually swap taxa to their new locations, from lower ranks to higher ranks (e.g., subspecies first, then species).
  4. Do an atlased split of genus Eriococcus (without children, and with Eriococcus included as one of the output genera) to deal with the Genus-level identifications. Genus-level IDs may get bumped to the next common ancestor, but IDs of the remaining Eriococcus species or subspecies shouldn’t be affected.

I think that’s the most workable process, but I’m sure other curators will chime in if I’ve missed any good shortcuts.


Great! Step 1 complete. As for Step 2, I checked already in the ScaleNet catalogue and made notes of them.

Interesting is that a non-zero number of species existed as separate, active iNat taxa in 2 different genera in this family when I started curating tonight. Makes me wonder how prevalent that is site-wide.

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I’ve encountered this too, especially in groups that haven’t had curator attention for a long time. Some things that would be swaps may turn into merges instead.

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