How to handle transfer of subgenus to another genus?

A subgenus of rust flies (Asiopsila) was transferred from Loxocera to Psila by Buck & Marshall in 2006, a decision that was affirmed by subsequent authors (Shatalkin & Merz 2010; Shatalkin 2021). That change has lagged in online sources, but it’s now reflected in Systema Dipterorum.

I’d like to make that change on iNat but I’m not sure the best way logistically to transfer a subgenus. I could just change the parent taxon of Asiopsila from Loxocera to Psila, but then I would have to change the combinations of each of the child species manually from Loxocera x to Psila x. Instead, I could do a taxon swap of Asiopsila into Loxocera, and have iNat change the included species automatically. Then I would have to either re-add Asiopsila as a subgenus or just ignore it.

The easiest thing for me would be, I could make a new empty subgenus Asiopsila in Psila, and then do a swap from one Asiopsila to the other, changing the child species automatically. But that seems a little odd because there’s actually no change happening at the subgenus level.

Regardless, I am planning to do an atlased taxon split of Loxocera (just in Asia, where this subgenus is found) to bump all Loxocera observations in that area up to subfamily.

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I wasn’t sure, but it does look like swapping species in one subgenus to another in a diff genus (without changing any parents like you mentioned) does automatically change the names to the new genus if you check the "move children to output box. (making sure of course that the ones that are being automatically renamed should be)

Can you explain what you mean by no change happening? The taxon change would just represent its change to a new genus, i.e. same name, different taxonomy.


I just mean that if you look at the taxon swap, it will say something like “Asiopsila ##### will be changed to Asiopsila #####”. It’s not like the concept or circumscription of Asiopsila has changed.

I think an analogy at a different taxonomic level might make what I’m trying to say clearer. Imagine that scientists suddenly discover that foxes of the genus Vulpes actually belong to Felidae rather than Canidae. You wouldn’t then go on iNat and create a new version of Vulpes within Felidae and then do a taxon swap of Vulpes (Canidae) to Vulpes (Felidae). That would feel silly, unnecessary, and leave a confusing record of a taxon swap from Vulpes to Vulpes. Instead, you would (I assume) just go and edit the parent taxon of Vulpes (after reaching community consensus in the comments of an appropriate flag on the genus, of course).

Or would you?

This is fine. The point of taxon changes is to automatically transfer IDs when taxonomic concepts change, not to accurately represent exactly what is happening taxonomically.

Well in that case, yes, but subgenera are different because they are attached to the genus in a way that is different from Vulpes in Canidae.

So this sounds like the best thing to me.

If you want to see which observations would be affected, you can use the “check unintended disagreements” feature either on the swap or on an unsaved change of parent.

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