Reconciling Taxonomic Changes - BC Canada

The BC Conservation Data Centre just posted its updates, which include taxonomic changes to plant and animal species. I’m curious how this gets reconciled with iNat so that they are consistent?

Example taxonomic revision in the North American Pygmy Shrews resulted in the common name change for Sorex eximius from American Pygmy Shrew to Western Pygmy Shrew. However it is still listed as American Pygmy Shrew in iNaturalist
And for painted turtle it’s had a common name change, to match the taxonomic standard, Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (2021): Northern Painted Turtle changed to Painted Turtle, including Painted Turtle – Pacific Coast Population and Painted Turtle – Intermountain – Rocky Mountain Population. On iNaturalist it lists Painted Turtle and Western Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta ssp. bellii), and up until recently the (western) ssp. was what we were using for confirmed painted turtle observations in southwest BC. Will iNaturalist be changing the common name to reflect the distinct populations of the subspecies (which no longer uses the term western)?


You can go to the taxonomy page and flag for curation.
You can add common names yourself (and there is a history tab so people can see who did what when why)

Or you can wait a little, and see if a curator is busy with that.


The short answer is, they won’t all necessarily get reconciled, but may instead end up cross-referenced through synonyms associated with iNat taxa.

For scientific names, iNaturalist follows certain standard taxonomic authorities by default, with some exceptions when the community decides a deviation from the authority is justified. If BCCDC uses a different scientific name for a taxon, a curator can enter it as a synonym, so that it will lead to the corresponding iNat taxon when someone tries to look it up.

For common names (which sounds like what your are asking about), as @dianastuder noted any iNat user can add new common names for a taxon. The old one(s) are not likely to get removed, though, since people outside of BC may still try to look up a taxon by the previous name(s). When common names are added, they can also be localized to a specific jurisdiction. So if a name newly adopted by BCCDC is not used globally for that taxon, it can still be the default name when located within BC.


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