Question about taxon swaps

Some people are entering identifications to conform to a taxon swap that hasn’t been committed. Here’s just one, on my observation.
I don’t really understand this. Can anyone explain?

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The taxa change, along with several other ones for birds were made something like mid summer last year. Unfortunately they added the new species, but never ran the taxa change, so there are multiple copies floating about.

We’ve been begging the changes get made, but because birds are locked, it cant be done by a regular curator.


Thanks, but what does this mean?

It means there are only 2 people on the whole site who can either

  • inactivate the new one until it is run
  • or actually run the taxa change.

And months of requests to do so have not resulted in either.


But aren’t we supposed to wait until it is changed, so we’re using iNaturalist’s taxonomy?

it sounds like we need a fwe more bird curators, unless it isn’t being changed because it is controversial or something.


Yes, that was what I was wondering about–that it might be controversial. So I’ll just wait on my observation, and not change the IDs I’ve made on the observations of others that I’m getting notified on.

The splits are not controversial. I think, and this is speculation on my part that the issues are:

  • that atlases dont work on oceans, and this specific one is a (mainly) sea duck, so lots of records will fall outside the atlases
  • there are concerns about running a taxa update on 50,000+ records (another of the pending changes is on Mallard, which is one of the most observed species on the site)

If this is unrelated do run this under its own topic. How is a taxon swap handled that includes a split? I just stumbled on Kew deeming Scaevola taccada to be a synonym of Scaevola plumieri. I was a tad puzzled by this and wrote to Kew. Their response was that our Scaevola taccada are actually probably Scaevola sericea, which had apparently originally been a species, then later a subspecies of Scaevola taccada.

If I understand this correctly, most of the pan-Pacific S. taccada should now be in S. sericea while S. taccada elsewhere should be swapped into S. plumieri (along with S. taccada ssp. taccada?). Perhaps the Pacific S. taccada should have been in Scaevola taccada ssp. sericea all along and that subspecies could have been swapped for the resurrected Scaevola sericea? Globally, however, it appears that there are only two observations in Scaevola taccada ssp. sericea while 1089 are in S. taccada. So how do the S. taccada observations get sorted out for the upcoming swap?

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