Is it worth creating a few higher level common names?

I was wondering if it is worth creating common names for the following two taxa:

Class Agaricomycetes to something like “Mushrooms, toadstools and some other typical fungi”. This is because sometimes people photographing a fungus with gills dump it into Agaricales erroneously (i.e. Russulales have gills and so do some Boletales).

Lichen taxa are scattered in groups throughout Fungi but most will be in the Class Lecanoromycetes. Would it serve much purpose to call these something like “Structured, Leafy and similar lichens”?


Regarding the lichens issue, take a look at the following projects:

Lichens of the World

Earth’s Lichens

I’ve found that there is a bit of an issue with adding lichens to projects. Often I’ll know I have a lichen, but have absolutely no idea what family, let alone genus it falls into, so there is no way on iNat to assign it as a lichen rather than any other fungus. This means that for it to be added to a lichen based project I have to make a semi-random ID assignment even to get it to a project where someone with the proper expertise might see it and give it the correct ID.

Any way to isolate lichens from the rest of the fungal kingdom for the purposes of IDs I’m very much in approval of.


also keep in mind that an initial placement of Agaricales can result in more knowledgeable people moving it on to the “correct” placement… in other words it is just a pre-sort to get the ball rolling. It could well help the fungi identifiers out, perhaps someone like @cooperj might comment, and perhaps tag in those that might have a stake in it.

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I’ve had this exact frustration many times with moths in particular. Sometimes the best I can do is “Lepidoptera” even though I know it’s not a butterfly, but leaving it at that ID leaves me unable to add it to certain projects devoted to moths.

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Yeah, we have the same problem with the butterflies and moths in our project in SE Asia.

Not sure my view as a taxonomist counts. I don’t use any common names and many fungal common names on iNat are artificial and irritating. At higher rank they are also invariably misleading. It would need a pre-linnean style paragraph to describe the variation in subordinate taxa. However I do appreciate the issue for non-experts wishing to categorise an observation. The only logical solution would be to create and manage a separate hierarchical classification of common names that cross-links to the linnean classification. Then the terms lichens, mushrooms, club-fungi etc could all be accommodated. It would be a nightmare to manage and I’m not sure of the value.

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I’m a non-specialist who often adds coarse IDs so that they’re more likely to be picked up by someone knowledgeable and I would find this very helpful.


I leave lichens at Fungi and jurga _li usually IDs them for us.

Seaweed is also difficult - red, brown or green? But we can’t choose ‘seaweed’.


I know what you mean!

It might be useful to have a running list of all the groups where this issue comes up regularly. Basically any group that is non-monophyletic but useful for a basic level of ID:

  • Lichens (mostly Lecanoromycetes)

  • Seaweed (Red algae, Brown algae, Green algae)

  • Moths (Lepidoptera sans Papilionoidea)

  • Gilled mushrooms (Agaricales, some Russulales, some Boletales)

  • Mangroves (many components)

  • Wasps (Hymenoptera excluding Anthophila, Formicidae, and some other groups)

There’s probably many more out there


There is a Mangroves of the World project that @upupa-epops made a while back after a similar discussion raised the idea that this sort of thing might be needed.

Still no way to just assign a “mangroves” ID though due to there being so many different families that have converged on the mangrove strategy.

One option could be a traditional project but that would require people to know of that project’s existence, and add their observations to it. Once they are identified they’ll show up in the collection project.

A similar situation is with galls and leafminers, so there are projects (some examples linked here) that you can add your observations of them to and then identifiers who know how to idenitify galls/leafminers look through just the observations in those projects.

Most of the lichen projects are traditional projects, yet have complicated taxa requirements (e.g. here) so you have to know to identify your observation as Lecanoromycetes (whether or not that’s accurate) before you can add it to the project. I haven’t noticed receiving any more identifications after adding observations to those projects though.

Moths are simpler to deal with because you can just exclude Papilionoidea from Lepidoptera and all you have left are moths.

There are a couple suggestions for projects to use for seaweed here but perhaps a dedicated project would be useful.


That’s the issue right there. Since there is no “mangrove”, “lichen”, etc option there isn’t often a way to identify close enough for it to turn up in a project without an ID that gets to family at least.

If it’s already got an ID it’s pretty easy to get the observation into a particular project, but without that it’s a bit more difficult. Especially if you’re in an area that’s kind of off the radar for identifications or particular groups.

Here in SE Asia I haven’t seen many lichen observations at all, let alone identifications, and we are out of the geographic area of a lot of the lichen groups. I have no idea as to the state of knowledge of local lichens either… given how many species in general here have no or little information about them I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a major knowledge gap lichen studies in SE Asia.