Mark taxa with no children

Platform(s), such as mobile, website, API, other:
URLs (aka web addresses) of any pages, if relevant:
Description of need:
When IDing to species, it’s not immediately obvious whether there are subspecies or varieties within the species. Marking taxa with no children would encourage these finer IDs when possible.
Feature request details:
I thinking of something like underlining taxa with no children, like Little Alchemy does with final elements.

Taxa are marked as complete (if applicable, only for certain groups) on the taxonomy tab of the taxon page, so theoretically that information is already available.

I think this request is more about whether lower taxa (infraspecifics in particular) exist on iNaturalist already to be selected, and nudging users towards selecting those rather than just the general species.

however, I don’t really see the point of this kind of feature. it is simple enough to click through to a taxon page on the web version, and I at least hope that such a view of a taxon’s descendants (in this case, a species’ infraspecifics) will be incorporated into the next iNaturalist app. for taxon views where lower taxa are not made immediately obvious (like on the current iOS app), I don’t think the average user would even know how to interpret something like this without the information that “underlined species have no lower taxa to select” going into a tutorial. separately, I’m also not sure that the typical user will have the knowledge to select an appropriate subspecies/variety/form if prompted to do so; such information is usually even more difficult to find than species identification help.


I don’t think the interface should motivate people to give IDs to subspecies. I have noticed this has become a new trend to do, but a lot of those subspecies are not really IDable by anything than range (at least not from photos), so adding the subspecies brings no value.


Yes it should. Species are overrated. We should ID to the finest taxon possible. Some species/subspecies are controversial. If we don’t ID to subspecies in such cases, then if we split, all of a sudden, all those observations will be genus-level or something, so lose their research grade status.

Also, some subspecies can be told apart by morphological traits too. And some species have domesticated “varieties”.

It should be noted that not every taxon without children is a species, subspecies, variety, hybrid or infrahybrid. For example, Phylum Picozoa.

This seems like useful information to include. I don’t like having to go to a taxon page every time to see if the taxon has children.

I wouldn’t generalise or even really agree with this view. it seems an extremely dubious claim in many groups of organisms to say that identifying an infraspecific “brings no value” whatsoever. perhaps you’re referring specifically to vertebrate animals, which do tend to have that problem; the situation is very different in, for example, plants, where it’s much less common to find subspecies (per se) at all, let alone ones defined primarily by range. varieties (the most common infraspecific rank in plants) vary a lot in terms of their constitution, but a great many are discrete entities that may be “species-in-waiting” (either in evolutionary time or in simply not having had enough taxonomic attention paid to them yet).

however, again, infraspecifics are definitely still much more difficult in most cases to identify, and my main opinion is that just because they’re not “valueless” doesn’t mean the average user particularly should be encouraged to choose one rather than the parent species.

Picophyta (= Picozoa) has at least one described genus and one described species : Picomonas judraskeda. So it’s not a taxon without children.

I think that it is not worth marking taxa without children.

Perhaps it could be worthwhile to mark some species as not RG unless they are identified at the infraspecific level. For example: Convolvulus althaeoides has two subspecies, sometimes recognised as two different species, and relatively easy to ID. It would be a good thing if observations of such a species were not to be RG.

Picozoa doesn’t have children recognised by iNaturalist.

Now it does.

Aha, OK, then my view is really distorted by my interest in animals, because there it’s more of a rule than exception to have geographically defined subspecies. In fact, there are often species that are impossible to ID in the field (without catching) by anything else than range.

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I have had many observations split and they stayed RG because they got assigned by range to one of the new species - clearly there is a function in iNat that allows people to do enact splits using range information. Funnily enough, just as I wrote this, someone has committed the split of giraffes, which does NOT use this function and only follows subspecies IDs and thus created a huge mess …