Panellus luxfilamentus v/s Panellus pusillus

see the discussion here …

Just a note that I haven’t abandoned this question. I’ve been making enquiries regarding the overall processes, plus the specific Panellus matter. I’m awaiting a couple of answers and will then post a summary of the findings. Irene 19 Sept 2021

“closer to” doesn’t mean “it is”. As at 19 September 2021 still following up on this one with various NZ organisations - am awaiting answers.

please read the discussion at the link posted by Jerry above

Thanks Niels. I am continuing to explore this matter and am awaiting a couple of responses from organisations as at 19 Sept 2021. Preliminarily: the two Panellus species both exist, and are DIFFERENT on both morphological grounds and phylogenetic grounds.

The original NZ data (and Au sequence position) can be found linked to this collection record …

A bit more general background information might be useful here. Apologies for the length.

As far as I’m aware there is no nationally coordinated list on the presence/absence or indigenous/introduced status of fungi in Australia. So whether a species is present or not is a matter of opinion and without national-level managed collation, interpretation and comment. iNat users providing identifications in any organism group, anywhere in the world, are free to choose any name. The identifications may be correct or not in the opinion of others. Within Australia there is no appeal to a nationally managed list to be able to say, “That fungal species is not officially recorded for Australia, so either it is a new record, or the identification is wrong”. In New Zealand we do have such a list, although it is far from perfect with the limited funding we have to support it. The national status on presence/absence sometimes disagrees with the apparent evidence based on identifications of vouchers in public collections. That is usually because few collections/herbaria/fungaria have the resource to continually revise the identifications of all collections. Incorrect legacy identifications will persist in most collections, and that data gets exported to GBIF.

The database of NZ national-level opinion on organism ‘biostatus’ is driven by our biosecurity legislation. The website containing that national biostatus data and is hosted by Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research on behalf of NZ. In New Zealand we can appeal to that list to say identifications are wrong or newly recorded, whether from iNat or any other source (including our own collections). That resource is critical because in New Zealand it is a legal requirement for all citizens to report the presence of newly discovered organisms to the national authorities. That legislation includes iNat users using ‘new names’, usually without them realizing the legal consequence. That requirement makes New Zealand different to most countries. It puts a spotlight on NZ iNat data (and GBIF data more generally).

So, why do we have that list in NZ, and why does it need to be agile? We cannot wait for evidence of presence of ‘new organisms’ or changed status to filter through to peer reviewed publications because it may involve new incursions of pest/pathogens, or disputes about importation of goods/strains. Those issues require timely information to be available to our ministries and border biosecurity officials. That is why we have strict legislation on reporting, and supporting information systems. So the combination of vouchered collections supported by morphological/sequence data can lead to rapidly available, or changed information on presence/absence. Sometimes the national status will be linked to supporting published references, but sometimes not, especially for recent notifications. It would be great to see something similar for Australia and then problems like the ambiguous status of Panellus luxifilamentus would have a mechanism for appeal, as well as providing an important resource for biosecurity agencies. But, maybe there is a mechanism already for that, and I am unaware of it.

But, back to the ALA … In New Zealand our national checklist infrastructure (NZOR) harvests name/taxon and biostatus data from our providers. Only the subset of taxonomic data is delivered from NZOR into the ALA because the ALA does not contain coded biostatus information as far as I’m aware. The subset of NZ taxonomic data needs to be in the ALA to provide a mechanism for interpreting the taxonomic status of names applied to NZ collection data delivered through the ALA, especially data from the Australasian Virtual Herbarium Network.


So you are saying that Chew et al. (2014) is not scientific evidence? I assume that this is the “Malaysian paper” that you refer to several times. That’s a pretty bold statement, but you’re welcome to be bold that’s your affair. Personally, I am accustomed to reading scientific papers and the paper in question is not coy about P. luxfilamentus; the paper in question is direct in the assertion and doesn’t even use weasle words like “may”, “might”, “one interpretation” etc. It says it specifically. Nobody that I know of is “misinterpreting the Malaysian paper”. I’ve seen no evidence of that. Even if they were then perhaps you should direct your concerns to the authors of the paper. It’s a peer reviewed paper published in a reputable journal.

That said, iNaturalist is not a taxonomic authority and has never pretended to be so. I’m not sure why you seem to be so upset about this. Mistakes happen. If it turns out that you’re correct then it’d take, oh I dunno, 5 minutes? to make the changes on iNaturalist. But I am not going to make that change unless there is strong evidence to justify the change.

You keep saying that there is no scientific evidence but I’ve given you the title of one paper, so that’s untrue or a deceptive assertion on your part (whether you agree with the paper or not is another matter; it’s still scientific evidence that you seem reluctant to directly address). You’re welcome of course to object to the evidence…

As for your suggestions under “SUGGESTED ACTION TO ADDRESS THIS”, I don’t think that the iNaturalist network is under any obligation to do any of those things you suggest that iNaturalist must do. Provide evidence and it’ll probably be updated. iNat is not a taxonmic authority. If you provide evidence that the observations are misidentified then of course we can change them. No such evidence has thus far been provided though.


You could also, of course, go through every observation and reindentify them manually if you feel so strongly about it. Be prepared to cite evidence though

Going to each record and adding your ID of P. pusillus would not be difficult or even especially time-consuming; perhaps 1-2 hours absolute maximum.

This is untrue. There are currently 283 records of P. luxfilamentus for Australia; I scrolled through every one, and only around 30% have 3 or more people all agreeing. That means, for 70% of the 283 observations, you adding your ID would instantly take the observation back to genus.

Taxonomic terms such as ‘cf.’, ‘nr.’, ‘aff.’, etc., are not used in iNaturalist names. This is not a change that will occur.

It is not possible to segregate and automatically reassign identifications to records based on some arbitrary point in time.

If you want P. pusillus allocated, then add your IDs to those records. If you want them to sit at genus, then add an ID of Panellus. P. aff. luxfilamentus / P. luxfilamentus aff. are not names that will be implemented.

A huge number (i.e., millions) of records in the ALA are of ‘unconfirmed’ records. Any and all records from eBird, individual users, and a myriad other data providers are all unconfirmed/non-verifiable. If you eliminated these, the ALA would have very few data points at all. Also, unconfirmed/needs ID = incorrect/premature is a false equivalence. There are many unconfirmed records that are so because only one expert currently exists for that group on iNat, it’s an old record that someone hasn’t got around to yet, etc.

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I have now received input from Dr. Jerry Cooper with some useful information.

  1. That a difference of more than 1.5% between two specimens across ITS supports a separate phylogenetic species. That is, less than 1.5% difference is generally considered as being the same species.
  2. That a specimen from Cairns, Queensland was found to be 99% similar to the Malaysian type of P. luxifilamentus.
  3. That a specimen in Melbourne Herbarium was found to be at 98.3% similar to the Malaysian type of P. luxifilamentus.

Crair-r. Your input is noted. I am not a deceptive person, and I did not make “demands”, just suggestions if my submission was accepted.

Thanks beachcomber for advising this.

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