The v1 API doesn’t appear to apply a ranking to queries by name in terms of goodness of match. In particular, this query:
currently returns 381 results, where the expected exact match to taxon https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/482347-Velutina-velutina doesn’t appear anywhere in the first page. Since these are sorted by obs count it looks like it is somewhere beyond position 50. Given there are so many, I don’t know what ranking to apply in order to get the record I want other than querying for every page of results and then looking through them for “matched_term”.
I see this rather old GitHub issue https://github.com/inaturalist/inaturalist/issues/514 suggesting it was once desirable to inject exact matches at the head of the list, but I imagine this applies to the old API.
Note that the API documentation for this endpoint at https://api.inaturalist.org/v1/docs/#!/Taxa/get_taxa states “Name must begin with this value” but this doesn’t seem to be correct, instead it looks like a fuzzy name match is applied to all terms which are then matched against all alternate names.
It would be useful to somehow get exact matches preferred - I note that the autocomplete API at https://api.inaturalist.org/v1/taxa/autocomplete?q=Velutina+velutina doesn’t have this problem so I guess is some kind of workaround. Are the rate limits more generous on the new v1 APIs than on the old-style ones?