Use Wikidata to link to appropriate Wikipedia articles in all languages

Not sure if this is properly classed as a bug report or a feature request. The system that allows curators to manually establish a link to a Wikipedia page with a different name than the taxon in cases where disambiguation is required seems to break down when you run the site in a language other than English.

For example this page :

Hamadryas is a butterfly genus, a plant genus, and the common name of a primate, as well as a concept from Greek mythology

The default Wikipedia page under Hamadryas points to the mythology feature.

Therefore, you can set the Wikipedia about link to butterfly genus which is at

But this only works if you are running in English. If for example you are running in Spanish, there is a Spanish language page for the genus, but it is

Thus when Spanish users navigate to the page, they get the EoL content which points to the primate.

Curators are basically left with one of two choices:

  • turn off the about data for all users
  • set it properly for English users, but in doing so recognize that other language users may be presented invalid information.

I don’t know if there is any available fix other than allowing curators to set multiple links to the Wikipedia information that are language specific.

This would be another instance where linking up with Wikidata would make more sense than duplicating effort.


I just encountered one of those. I switched it off for now, but I’m not marking it as resolved, because obviously, that’s not a satisfactory resolution. I guess the obvious solution is for someone to do the Wikipedia edits necessary to allow us to link to good information in Spanish, but I am personally not up for that.

The issue with doing edits at Wikipedia is you would have to change the names off all the different language pages to be the same thing, and I’m not sure it makes sense for example for a Spanish language page to be called Hamadryas(butterfly)

EDIT - and it cant work at all for Wikipedia pages that dont use latin script.

Seems like a good feature request instead of a bug, since current functionality is behaving as expected. Should we convert it?

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Example of this work already done on Wikidata:


It does kind of cycle back to the same issue though, which is maintaining a link to the appropriate reference page, be it Wikipedia or Wikidata. String searches on Wikidata will have the same problem as string searches on Wikipedia, without the redirect benefit.

That being said, I do agree though that the benefits of linking into the Wikidata information seem an optimal way to approach this.

The links on that page are from Wikidata to Wikipedia, and are what Wikipedia itself uses to generate those “read this article in other other language” links in the left sidebar of Wikipedia articles. Wikidata organizes taxa by scientific name (for the most part).

Since it’s working as designed, I moved this from #bug-reports to #feature-requests.


Unfortunately this is not something you can count on. There is no standard for naming, and in typical Wiki fashion agreement seems impossible. There is a current edit war going on between users setting the scientific name as the default and users replacing it with the English name.

Right – “for the most part” as in the grand scheme of the number of taxa listed there.

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Also just wanted to clarify that the connection doesn’t have to rely on a scientific name in iNat matching up to the title of the item on Wikidata, because the iNaturalist taxon_id is/can be linked to each Wikidata item.

Here's a higher visibility example that just came up: the iNat taxon for mammals is directing to a 2016 film called Mammal when iNaturalist is viewed in Dutch...


Using any label for matching seems like a bad idea, in any case. If we want to do text matching rather than manual linking via IDs, we should be looking exclusively at the taxon name property. And of course this matching should still be overriden by a manual matching to an iNaturalist taxon ID on the Wikidata side.

Edit: it seems most iNat taxa should already be matched to Wikidata properly anyway, according to the appropriate mixnmatch catalog, meaning there should be a very easy approach to just move to Wikidata ASAP.

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I’m not really clear how to interpret that mixnmatch data, I have added numerous iNat taxa ID numbers, but my user name does not appear there at all, even users with 1 edit are there. Is it only showing edits made with that tool in the stats?

Yes, I think so. It might be that the ones that already existed were “manually matched” by Manske via some script, or that the system skipped the already matched ones entirely. I have only used mix’n’match for stuff that wasn’t in Wikidata at all yet, so I’m not sure what it does otherwise.

Thanks to @bouteloua for pointing me to this thread. A couple of notes:

  • matching iNat taxa to Wikidata items would not rely on strings, as suggested earlier in this thread, but on Wikidata’s and iNat’s IDs. Every Wikidata item has a free-form label in multiple languages. While the text label is subject to change, the numeric ID of the item (what Wikidata calls a “QID”) is persistent. E.g. item Q630829 represents Larus occidentalis and it has labels in 47 different languages. Each Wikidata item also contains links to the corresponding Wikipedia articles, when they exist. There are currently Wikipedia articles about Larus occidentalis in 28 language editions, from English to Navajo or Hungarian. Finally, each Wikidata item also contains links to many external databases in the Identifiers section, for example the item about Larus occidentalis links to 21 other databases, from NCBI to eBird etc.
  • Now, one of these identifiers is the iNaturalist Taxon ID. We created this property a while ago for the purpose of reconciling iNat taxa and Wikidata items and, as far as I can tell, it has been extensively populated in Wikidata (it’s currently used by over half a million Wikidata items). The first batch of iNat IDs mapped to Wikidata via Mix’n’Match got imported by a script (since the property didn’t exist at that time), but future edits made in Mix’N’Match should go live on Wikidata immediately. I don’t know how often Magnus Manske refreshes the Mix’N’Match catalog with new data dumps from iNat but we can ask him :)
  • So why does this all matter? Having an iNat ID—>Wikidata QID mapping means that it’s straightforward to automatically retrieve all the associated Wikipedia articles for a given iNat taxon, irrespective of spelling or variation in the title. How to best ingest these links depends on what works best for iNaturalist, but this is by far the best mechanism to have correct matches from iNat to Wikipedia instead of relying on heuristics that match labels.
  • Finally, I’d like to make a case for adding a Wikidata link directly in the “More info” list. There’s a lot of information about taxa in Wikidata that would be valuable to iNat users, if the link were displayed alongside GBIF, BOLD, Google Scholar and others.