Intuitive online guides for high-volume taxa

Hi. I’m looking for inspiration and references for the eventual creation of an online guide for a somewhat broad invertebrate taxon covering tens of thousands of species. There are a select few guides I use frequently, but I’m curious what people use with an emphasis on a good UI when it comes to the organisation of taxa and the approach towards a “tree.” I should probably mention I am not a web developer (in case any questions regarding that arise). Please link your favourite guides (large or small), if you have any and—if applicable—why you might prefer them over others!


Some online guides are mentioned here, though not easy to find.)
Not quite guide, but more of a very helpful list (with some easy keys, easy to navigate, on Russian, but almost everything is Latin anyway
Key that shows what kind of keys we need these days, but nothing website-wise:


This one run by @rainieria :
Is one of the best examples UI-wise of a multi-access key I’ve seen… it makes me never want to use a dichotomous key again. :)
Its a template from the Field Studies Council in UK, called Identikit - other examples here:
Not suitable for 1000s of species at once though perhaps …


oh these are great, thanks Marina!

1 Like

very nice, thank you!

1 Like

I find the easiest guides are often the most location specific. So I don’t suppose you can filter your 1000 species by location…?

Very simple, but I find myself using the beetle family guide on BugGuide constantly, and it really helps speed things up (I suppose because of the large number of taxa visible on a single page):


I think it really depends on how well your users know the general taxonomy. For mollusks, species are loosely grouped by family, which an experienced user comes to recognize. So if I can ID it to family, that speeds up my searching immensely even if I know nothing about the genera or species. Sites I find helpful are ones that group taxa into families, such as these (mollusks by region). Classes are fairly basic (e.g. snail vs. clam).
Southwest Florida (marine)
Mediterranean (marine) (pick a class first)
Virginia (terrestrial)
Pacific Northwest (marine) (pick a class first)
Montana (freshwater) (pick a class, and order if necessary, first)

The added ability to search for genera/species is also helpful, but just an alphabetical list by genus is NOT helpful (as here), unless you are very familiar with the exact generic placement of everything you might be looking for and how those genera are related to one another (in which case you probably don’t need the guide).

However, for less experienced users, this isn’t really feasible, so a key to family would probably be helpful (like here, before keys within the families), although that’s usually a bit overwhelming. Not sure what the best way to overcome that is for a massive group though. Dividing by range would definitely help.

Depending on what invertebrate group you’re using, that taxonomic level may be different.


thanks, this is a great variety of different guide formats!

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