The trouble with Anthothoe

Taxonomic uncertainty does not lend itself to iNaturalist’s rigid classification. Anthothoe is a complex of sea anemones with several endemic species scattered about the Southern Hemisphere. The type species, A. stimpsonii, is described from South Africa. Earlier morphological studies synonymized it with a species from South America, A. chilensis, but more recent genetic evidence argues against that (both are considered valid in WoRMS).

The problem is that there are 200+ observations on here that identify South African specimens under the wrong name, as well as a handful of observations that correctly identify these as A. stimpsonii. It’s obviously not beneficial to have both names in use for this region, but how does one correct 200+ misidentifications?


You open them in identify tab (choose both needs id and rg and highest taxon-species) and add the right id with a comment (you can first disagree with a genus id as a first wave and then take a longer time to id the species where it’s possible), with 200 observations it should be a pretty fast work, the whole genus with those settings take 31 page, so you can review it all in a couple of evenings.

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see, this isn’t really a solution. this is more like busywork that only half meets the goal of correcting a simple taxonomic mistake. there needs to be an administrative means to correct this available to curators. from what I understand, geographic taxon splits are possible, but I don’t know that it can be done when both taxa are already recognized.

with what you’re suggesting, I’d simply be bumping all of the observations up to genus-level (but only for those that don’t already have 3 species-level identifications). to actually fix this would be a monumental undertaking.

That can be done, but you say taxonomy is more complicated than 2 species, you can add flag to the genus for curators if there’re no overlapping species, I don’t know what your link says, cause it’s not working for me. But be aware it can take ages and it’s just faster to do manually, it’s not that big of a deal to do, but surely if you don’t want to - add a flag. Taxonomical changes are discussed there, not on forum.

Not possible to do in this case. The taxonomic split tool used to deal with cases like this use atlases. And atlases only work on terrestrial organisms as they use geopolitical boundaries for their definition.

Unless the idea is curators then do all the identification entries.

Got it! Then we should create the way to do it, hah, maybe not for this case, but I can see how it can be useful for misids. I still think it’s not a big work to do manually, especially when you literally copy paste everything. Though I can’t see the paper linked in initial post so I don’t see the whole situation.

here’s the dissertation. figure 2.1 is a simple summary. the published paper is out there, but paywalled. that was a sci-hub link above

Curators, or any user for that matter should never enter an identification they are not personally capable of doing because another user asked them to.

It is a recipe for errors and misidentifications.

What do you mean? I’m not telling someone has to enter identifications. When there’re papers proving one species is found in X and not Y it would be just faster to have an instrument to implement changes, that’s all, I’m okay if it won’t happen, but it still a thing that could speed up things.

Thanks @marina_gorbunova. I’ve copied the relevant bits of discussion to and tagged some of the frequent identifiers of this genus.

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