List of iNat's authorities for scientific names?

Does iNat have a list of Authorities for scientific names? For example I study fungi and rely on Index Fungorum and Mycobank.

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Hi Henry, yep! You can find the list and more details about taxonomy on iNaturalist here:


To specifically answer your question, the site does not defer to any site for Fungi taxonomy. The engaged community on the site feels there are issues with any options out there.

Thank you both. I do prefer the primary literature but much of it is cost prohibitive. Also as I’ve noted elsewhere new American names for misapplied European names further confounds accurate ID. We just keep sorting it out as best we can.

Yeah, we tend to use the primary literature for fungi rather than being tied to one database. Usually we will try to cite whatever we are using when making taxon changes. If you have a specific question, you should be able to message me (jameskm) or aldendirks or cooperj for an explanation. Some areas of the taxonomy aren’t particularly up to date, but we try.

I second the response by James. We can’t keep all the fungal taxonomy maintained but we can follow the increasing number of high-level revisions in particular groups, and react to queries/issues about specific taxa. Between us we have access to most of the primary literature. Tracking down current supported opinions and resolving nomenclatural issues doesn’t usually take long. Misapplications can only be tackled when there’s some good evidence to shift things around, and it’s not always easy to do.

Mycobank is the standard for most of the top mycology journals, and accessioned Mycobank entries are required for any new genera, species, and combinations published in them. That puts the onus of keeping names up to date on the authors, and for the most part, it works with only a couple year’s delay at worst. Index Fungorum, on the other hand, seems a little dated and out of use. I wasn’t aware there was even controversy on this (maybe it’s a microfungi vs macrofungi thing; I’m only directly familiar with taxonomy of the former), but Mycobank should at least be mentioned on the curator guide (linked here again). I’m surprised it isn’t.

I think you misunderstand the primary purpose and role of both MyoBank and IndexFungorum.
Both are primarily registration authorities for nomenclatural acts, and both are thus primarily nomenclators (like IPNI is for plant names). In fact the ‘back catalog’ of all nomenclatural data in MycoBank prior to the start of registration came from IndexFungorum. Taxonomic opinion is a different matter. At Kew that is maintained in SpeciesFungorum which is linked to the IndexFungorum nomenclatural data. In MycoBank that taxonomic data isn’t very clearly differentiated from the nomenclatural content. Neither IndexFungorum nor Mycobank is adequately resourced to maintain taxonomic opinion at a global level, and I don’t believe either would claim they do that, or that is their primary role. Both have a degree of taxonomic content that arrives in various ways. For our purpose in iNat neither resource adequately reflects the consensus taxonomic opinion across all groups globally.

Oh! I get it, that makes sense. Nomenclature, not taxonomy. I know that MycoBank will often take the most recent name change as the “current name”, with the implication that that is the “right name”, regardless of whether there is any consensus whatsoever in the greater community. It really doesn’t represent unsettled controversies. Is that what you’re getting at?

Yes that is correct. They don’t always reflect wider consensus opinion, and updated taxonomic content is very patchy, in both resources. The same is true of the taxonomic hierarchy data. Here on iNat we have a wider discussion before adopting significant changes. Well at least as wide as we can achieve with the number of mythological curators we have.

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