What are some of the largest taxon splits that have happened observation wise?

I ask this question since the genus Eleodes is likely to be split soon, I would guess this year (the paper isn’t technically official yet) and it has almost 40,000 observations, which at the very least around 8,000 observations will be moved to different genera, although everything will remain in the same tribe. A few thousand genus level observations will be raised to Tribe level as well. Around 100 species will need taxon swaps, although most will be automatic. I don’t believe this will be a very destructive split, and I have been preparing for it for months now, identifying genus level observations, and creating the inactive taxa that will be necessary. Personally I’m excited for the changes, and I think this will only aid in the taxonomy on iNat, the only real negative I see is now there will be some more ambiguity in what genus something belongs, and more names for people to remember.

I’m curious as to what big taxon splits have happened here, mainly based on the number of observations, especially for taxa without an atlas. As well as that, what has been the response to these splits?


not quite a split, but some there was some juicy drama for the gulf fritillary when not once, but twice it was swapped and reverted: https://www.inaturalist.org/flags/568513


Mesquites last year involved thousands of observations


Are we including straight-up reclassifcations with splits?

Because I’m currently feeling extremely sympathetic to all the fungi curators who just had to deal with back-to-back giant restructuring papers in Clitocybaceae and Cortinariaceae


Maybe not as large as some others, but splitting Solidago sempervirens into that and Solidago mexicana (which had previously been a subspecies) has involved around 15k observations, plenty of which are probably still wrong since both species have a very wide ground of over lap.


Don’t know if this is a per se taxon split, but the move of the Double Crested-Cormorant and other cormorants involved over 150K observations.


I have recently had my observations affected by two rather major splits: Giraffes and Chaffinches. Based on my user experience, my main recommendation for any such splits is: do it quickly and consistently. The average user has no way to see that the split is “in the middle of execution” - for the case of giraffes, the new species have existed for some time, but the old large species was not split yet, making it seems like there are sympatric species of giraffes. Last time I dealt with the Chaffinches, the main species still had a range map including the ranges of the new (already split) species. This leads to people (even relatively experienced users like me) getting confused - because there is no single taxonomy, so we rely on the information provided by iNat to gather which taxonomy is currently accepted on iNat.

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The # Junonia coenia/grisea split is one I recall.

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What is the difference between the two exactly?

Just two different fungi families.

Cortinarius is/was a very large genus of fungi, and a recent paper just split the genus into several different genuses, effecting thousands of observations.

The other one, Clitocybaceae, is significant because, among a bunch of other changes, it included restructuring for the genus Lepista. Lepista happens to contain some of the most popular edible mushrooms that people forage, the Blewits - and they all got moved to Collybia due to actually not being that closely related to the type species for Lepista. Lepista/Collybia nuda has something like 18k observations, and that’s not including the other species in the group (tarda, sordida, brunneocephala) that were also moved around.

On top of it, the relevant papers just had a lot of different moves with less-known taxa that I’m sure were a pain.

Thanks for the advice! I think that’s been a requested feature before, to make it easier for people to see that a taxon change will happen, in my case I’ve only ever noticed changes one they happen. Also I noticed that one of the taxa in jhousecole’s reply still has an outdated range map it seems.

I see, and that does sound like a lot to keep track of, and I guess it does go to show the importance of testing the genetics considering so much had to have been changed. It also seems like at least in the last example, species would have had to have been swapped manually, which is something I am trying to avoid in my case.

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iNaturalist may not have existed yet when Salmo gairdneri became Oncorhycnhus mykiss, but that was certainly a huge one in terms of how many published studies suddenly had an out-of-date name.

The subfamilies in Coccinellidae, (ladybugs), were revised a while back. Now, iNat needs to catch up. It would affect over 800 000 observations.


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