Seeking experienced curatorial eyes to review my proposed taxon change

I’m about to move ahead with my first taxon change on iNat and for some reason I have chosen a species with 12,000 observations. There has been a discussion for a while (see this flag) about moving the western North America geophyte Dichelostemma capitatum into the resurrected genus Diperostemon to reflect the current Jepson eFlora and the consensus of phylogenetic studies. POWO hasn’t caught up to this yet, but everyone seems to think it’s fine for iNat not to wait many years for that to happen.

I decided that it would be best to put this change into effect before the spring brings a deluge of new observations and so I put together a draft batch of four taxon swaps to implement the change. I created inactive taxon entries for the new genus Dipterostemon, the renamed species Dipterostemon capitatus and its three subspecies. And I drafted taxon swaps for the species and the three subspecies.

Everything seems to be set up right, but I understand that the results could be rather ugly if I have misunderstood the process. So… I would really appreciate it if someone could check it over for any mistakes before I commit the change.


I’m not qualified to, and so will not comment on the actual swap.

However, I will suggest reaching out to the site admins before firing them off simply from a server load perspective to make sure it does not impact server performance trying to update that many records.

This type of change also needs a genus split. If someone had previously used the ID Dichelostemma to mean “I think it’s either D. capitatum or D. congestum” (for example), their genus ID would no longer be able to take that meaning – in fact it would mean “I don’t think it can be D. capitatum”. The way to fix this particular problem is a genus split.

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Thanks. @bouteloua made a similar point here.

The only other thing I can think of is whether Dichelostemma needs to be split into Dichelostemma (sensu stricto) and Dipterostemon? i.e. if there are IDs of Dichelostemma that could refer to Dipterostemon, then we’d want to do a taxon split for the genus so that those IDs can either be transferred to Dipterostemon based on range or bumped to the common ancestor.

(and after the changes are committed, to wire up taxon framework relationship deviations, which I can help with)

I’m thinking through the pros and cons of the genus split. I think it comes down to the proportion of Dichelostemma genus IDs that are “maybe D. capitatum, maybe some Dichelostemma species” vs. the proportion that are “one of the other Dichelostemma species but probably not D. capitatum”. Most are probably in the former category, so these IDs should either get bumped up to Brodiaeaoidea (most of them) or assigned to one or other genus based on an atlas (fairly few).

Good point @cmcheatle. I’ll do that once I’ve finalized the taxon swap/split details.

If you don’t mind, can we consolidate this conversation in one place - on the flag?

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Sorry for that @bouteloua. I just suggested we consolidate here, as the discussion tools are better. Is that OK, or is there a reason we should handle this all on the flag comments?

I think it makes sense to continue the existing discussion (on the flag), but your post was successful in getting more eyes on it!

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I do appreciate all the assistance people are willing to offer. Let’s continue the discussion on the flag.

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I for one appreciate the heads-up on the forum, since I don’t routinely follow taxon flags, but I do routinely follow forum topics.