Mass tags - but for identifiers


Any idea how to process mass tagging of certain items as identifier?

Usecase: formulaic names for animals which are currently held in certain genera but belongs into undescribed species in fact. Note those species are unknown for official sources as WoRMS/GBIF, thereof there is probably no reason for standard curation on iNat, backward compatibility may be messed I guess. One of such references:

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If species is undescribed you should add observations to the project for underscribed species, which tags do you want to add?

i’ve seen observation fields used in ways that could be classifying observations under undescribed species. for example, here are some cases where @megachile seems to have highlighted some gall observations as a possible undescribed species:

the problem with observation field and traditional project approaches is that not all folks allow others to add fields to their observations or include their observations in projects.

you should be able to add an identification in most cases though (unless you’ve been blocked by an observer), and if you know that you can identify things to a specific placeholder taxon – the genus or a similar species – then you could just place comments/notes in the particular identification and then look for those identifications with those specific comments later. the main difficulty with this approach is that you probably need some familiarity with coding and the API to efficiently extract a list of observations marked this way.

We no longer use the Similar Observation Set field; we now have a dedicated Observation Field called “Gallformers Code” specifically for the purpose the OP seems to have in mind. We have almost 6000 observations tagged as dozens if not hundreds of undescribed species. I think it’s a good solution for the most part and it seems reasonable for other focal groups to establish their own. It does rely on an external, publicly accessible repository to track the codes used and keep them consistent though (which could theoretically be as simple as a google Sheet but that might not scale well).

This is the big issue with the observation field system, and there’s no real way around it that I know of. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to come up that much.


What does it take to get a gall species described?

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Likely collecting it and raising an adult, then describing it all and publishing, there’re lots of insects with only imago known, so you’d need to make sure it’s actually a new species.


Yep, you essentially need an adult of the inducing species to be described anatomically. These days genetic sequencing is also desirable since the inducers are often very similar in anatomy.


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