Proper order of operations for elevating subspecific taxa to species

Say species-A sensu lato is being split into species-A sensu stricto and species-B, which themselves are merely straightforward elevations of previously-existing subspecies-A and subspecies-B.

Say there are many identifications on iNaturalist of all three preexisting taxa. The following changes to IDs should happen:

  1. subspecies-A → species-A sensu stricto
  2. subspecies-B → species-B
  3. species-A sensu lato → split according to the atlases on species-A (s.s.) and species-B

This must be a very common situation. But I’m stuck. I can do step #2 but I can’t figure out how to do the rest. If I try to do step #1 first, I can’t, because it won’t let me activate species-A sensu stricto while species-A sensu lato is still active. If I try to do step #3 first, it won’t let me, because subspecies-A is still a child taxon of species-A sensu lato.

What I really want to avoid at all costs: Any solution that involves folding all the IDs of subspecies-A into species-A sensu lato. That would destroy the hard work of many identifiers.

Do I need to create a “dummy” species-C to temporarily contain the output of step 1?

I feel like I must be missing some order of operations detail here. Sorry in advance if it’s acutally super obvious!

Okay - answer to my own question:

You have to inactivate BOTH the child taxon (subspecies-A) and the parent taxon (species-A sensu lato), inactivating the child first.

Doing this is scary because the species page for the now-inactive species-A sensu lato will no longer show subspecies-A in its taxonomy section. Before you have a heart attack, know that subspecies-A does, in fact still exist, it just isn’t shown here because it’s inactive.

Then, the taxon changes can actually be committed.

1 Like

You might be interested to read the blog post “Using a Taxon Split input as an output”.