Make taxon images location dependent

Website (taxon pages)

Description of need:
Make taxon images in gallery on taxon pages location dependent

Feature request details:
When looking at the main taxon images I think it would be helpful if these were location dependent.

If I am looking at South American Muscidae, it would be really helpful to see relevant examples there. If I am looking at UK Muscidae, it’s not helpful for others to see exotic tropical fauna in this space. It may confuse.

I approved this as I think it’s intriguing, but I suspect it would be pretty complicated to implement.


To simplify in part, perhaps it could just be continent dependent.
To enable a different page for any possible location filter does sound complicated unless automated or defaulting to a broader location in any case.

It could also only be in play at certain ranks I guess.
Though I can think of some genera that have incredibly different species in South America vs Europe.
So maybe that would defeat the point.
At least at a species level there is no need though!
Unless there is extreme sub-species variation depending on location…(?)

What do you mean by “location dependent”? How is that different from searching with Explore?

They mean that the “thumbnail” images would depend on your location.

Well, Explore is just a different kettle of fish.

Taking a taxon image page like this :

At the moment, in Tephritoidea, all 9 main taxon images are USA, Australia or South Africa. They are not representative of European fauna in this superfamily. Half of them are notably different to anything one would find on this continent.

The Explore page simply isn´t curated in that way - by default it will show you the most observed. Useful…but still … if we have these curated taxon representative image sets, then it would make sense for the images to be connected to the location filter if possible I think.

It´s anyway something you can filter on the taxon page :

It´s a good point though in a sense…as if you were to automate the process… the Explore tabs most observed species would be a much more relevant choice of 10 images for the taxon than the existing set.

I think there’s just a tendency to choose more exotic looking species for taxon image pages. Fair enough, but yes…just a bit misleading.

If I had an ID of Tephritoidea in Europe and I clicked on the ID, it wouldn’t take me to the Explore page, it takes me to the taxon image page.

I didn’t think of that actually.
I was talking about the main taxon page image sets.

But that’s also a good point.
The thumbnails are usually too small to make much difference either way I think.
But ideally, yes…these should also be continent dependent to my mind.

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But what determines your location? Something you manually set? The last observation you saw? IP address?

Whatever the filter is set to.

OK I see. And then would each location have a different manually chosen image set?

I don’t have an issue with changing the images on the taxon page, but I would be firmly against making the actual default taxon image which serves as the thumbnail location dependent.

The image is a visual shorthand that is used by many when entering and interpreting IDs. So if the image is different, observers might assume initially that the ID is different as well.

For instance, let’s say a user is in Identify IDing some taxa that are common worldwide. Would the thumbnail images for those taxa vary depending on the location of the observations? They could conceivably see six (I guess maybe seven…) images for the exact same taxon in their observations. This could make it harder to ID efficiently or make them wonder if their own IDs were incorrect.

As an another example, location dependent taxon photos could cause confusion with CV suggestions. The suggested taxa could be the same, but vary with the location that users have entered for their observations, leading them to think they were different.

So I appreciate the idea behind having the taxon photo be customized, but I think the benefits are low compared to the trade-off for loss of consistency and potential confusion.

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I guess the main thing would just be the addition of some sort of location options here :

I think to start, by default it could be it just pulls the same set in from the world taxa.
( or takes the top 10 from Explore! )

But over time it could shift towards a more manually curated image set, yep.

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I really don’t think I ever look at thumbnails.
But sure. This feature request was never intended to be about thumbnails anyway.
And I agree with your point here I think, to some extent.

Here I don’t know what you mean though.
If I understand you correctly, I would argue the opposite :

If an autosuggest of Tephritoidea leads a European user to compare their observation against Australian fauna, that’s not helpful. It could be very confusing. Better if it’s location dependent, surely?


Ooh, I have to say I am intrigued by this idea. I do look at thumbnails pretty often, and it might mess me up as well, but I like bits of this.


In the actual Compare-type results where multiple pictures are shown for each taxon as suggestions, I think location-dependent pictures could be beneficial. The focus in these situations is on comparing taxa and selecting the appropriate taxon.

In fact, a small change here might not be that hard to implement. The order that the taxon photos are shown could be dynamically served to the user dependent on location.

For instance, if a user is uploading a picture for an observation in North America, if there are any taxon photo from North America, they could be shown first on the Compare type output. If there are no taxon photos from North America, the photos could just be shown in the standard order.

However, in the thumbnail images, I don’t think location dependent images would be beneficial for two reasons:

  1. The default thumbnail pictures are of limited value for IDing. Their primary purpose is as an icon. They are tiny and don’t show many key details necessary for an ID. They also only show one example of a taxon (by design) - even within a species that small thumbnail likely won’t display key variation/traits. They don’t allow much for comparisons in and of themselves. The chance that they will be a visual match for the observer’s observation is low. Also, those taxon default photos are often the more visually striking/unique members of their taxon - they aren’t very representative to begin with (its own issue, but it affects this). So I think the benefit of targeting to location doesn’t outweigh the cost of inconsistency in the icons.

  2. Based on how often I see the CV icon on identifications (very often), my own usage, and comments here one the forum, I think a good majority of CV usage is just as a shortcut to taxon name entry, not an actual attempt to gain an ID for an unknown taxon via comparison. For this use, having the thumbnails/icons consistent is most important. If the user already knows their target taxon, location dependent photos don’t have a strong benefit.

This feature request wasn´t about thumbnail images.

It was about the taxon image page.

The thumbnail image is automatically the first image in the screenshot you are showing, so they (thumbnail and taxon page photos) are currently directly related features.

But ok, then that should just pull from the global taxon page, so it does not change.
I see no reason to change the thumbnails.
I agree it would be confusing.
I was not thinking about changing thumbnails at all here in making the request.

Sorry I was just going by the feature request text:

Which seemed to be focused on the default taxon images (which is related to the selection of multiple images as mentioned).

I edited the initial request language slightly to clarify the request is specifically about the taxon page if that’s ok.

Sure! Thankyou :)

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