What does this Atlas related message mean

I’m trying to set up a taxa change that needs atlasing to deal with the geographic splits.

I’m in one of the species involved, and need to make sure the atlas for it includes Australia, but not New Zealand. There are currently lots of records for this species in New Zealand which actually need to be moved to a different species.

I want to ensure New Zealand is not in the Atlas, when I click to remove it, I get this very scary message.
‘This will destroy all the listed taxa that are of this taxon (or any descendants) for this place (or any standard descendants). This can be very destructive, are you sure?’

But I’m not actually sure what it means. ‘Destroy’ is a very evocative word…

It removes it from the NZ descendant place checklists, which seems like the right thing to do in your scenario.

Thanks, I applied it, what it technically appears to do is remove it from any checklist that has an observation. It rmoved it from lots, but roughly 30 New Zealand checklists remain, which appear to be ones with no records.

Actually I take that back, there are clearly still checklists that have observations. So I am unclear on exactly what it removed, although it clearly removed something, as the number of listed checklists went down. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/882764-Hypoblemum-scutulatum

Maybe it is the opposite that it removes from checklists with no observations ?

I think that’s it–if there’s an (RG?) observation for a place with a checklist, it will stay on that checklist, but otherwise it will get removed. Hence the warning; for a large place like a country, there may be a large number of sub-national checklists containing the taxon, and it will get removed from all of them if it’s never been observed there.

As someone heavily involved with NZ place checklists on iNat, can you please tell me exactly what you have changed, so that I can check for collateral damage?

Edit: OK, don’t worry, it is the Hypoblemum.

Edit: I can confirm that all NZ obs have been rather inconveniently taxon changed to the wrong species, i.e. to H. scutulatum, which is unfortunate!

Atlases only interact with Standard Place (Country State County) default checklists. If theres a Standard Place checklist listing for a Country State or County, then the atlas place will light up (and their nested, so the presence of a check list listing in a County will make the ancestor Country light up even if there’s not listing for the Country)

At the same time if you deselect a lit up atlas place that will destroy all the Standard Place checklist listings for that place (eg country) or any of its descendant states or counties (ie if you deselect a country that will remove listings on the country but also child state and descendant county listings).

But Atlases don’t interact at all with non-default checklists. ie they just ignore them and the atlas UI won’t create or destroy listings on those lists

Does that make sense?

More to the point, whose responsibility is it to fix up the mess for N.Z., resulting from the above taxon change? I see @kiwifergus trying to fix it, but he can’t do it alone, and the mess is not his fault!

Russell Clarke is helping, and once we have two IDs on each, I will direct message a list of “other identifiers encountered during the re-identification” to see if they will change their IDs.

To clarify (as of 4:30pm 4 May 2019):

We were putting NZ occurences to Hypoblemum albovitattum
The 2019 review synonymises H. albovitattum to H. scutulatum
The 2019 review synonymises H. villosum to H. griseum
NZ occurences have now been established to be H. griseum
A taxon review moved all H. albovitattum to H. scutulatum (Australian AND New Zealand)
There is a pending taxon swap for H. villosum to H. griseum
There was an iNat name change in H. scutulatum to make it read H. griseum (I corrected this back)
We were putting new occurences to H. villosum pending the taxon swap to be committed
The H. griseum taxon was created
Russell and I are in the process of re-identifying NZ occurences to H. griseum
The H. villosum to H. griseum swap is still not committed

Thanks for your effort Mark. A bit of a mess! I’m updating my NZ and World checklists on iNat to reflect the latest changes (though I doubt many users look there).

I do!

I like messes… good learning opportunities! I was hoping the Hypoblemum albovitattum swap would be a good one to learn the process on, but I was waiting until after the CNC was over.

Yes, I’m trying to ID a load of sticky trapped insect obs left over from the CNC, which all need doing by monday!

tag me for any confirms needed etc, I am chipping away at what I can today and tomorrow…

Unfortunately, sticky traps tend to capture mostly stuff in inconvenient poses belonging to families in the “too hard basket”!

Lek Khauv made a comment 2 years ago that kinda gave a heads up to the change:


“There is a pending taxon swap for H. villosum to H. griseum


Indeed there is and I can’t make the taxon change myself because my curator status doesn’t appear to extend to spiders! Given the current mess and confusion, this taxon change urgently need committing! I’m not sure how best to try to get that done?

The NZ ones are nearly all re-ID’d (with Russell and I giving 2 IDs), but the swap would help for the Asutralian H. villosum. I have a list of iNat accounts to message with a polite request to re-ID, I will include with that a query link to the ones they need to look at, but for now I’ll just finish up the 2nd IDs with Russell

Yes, but it would be best not to have villosum in the taxon database as a third valid species of the genus!

H. villosum swap is now committed, so not a choice anymore. Close to having the NZ H. scutulatum moved over too

Im not sure what has happened here. I was setting up the groundwork with atlases (which was the root of this topic) etc to run the split, but had not implemented yet. In the interim another curator ran a change.

Theoretically they should not have been allowed to run the change as spiders are locked and they are not a spiders curator. Ive emailed site asking what broke that allowed them to run it .

What appears to be the primary need now is there are Aussie records still under griseum that presumably need to be moved back. I’m not sure that can be automated now. There are still 2 NZ records under scuullatum but they are from opt out of community id users.

I will work with the staff to try and diagnose what happened here

  • I was waiting to implement when I thought there was an issue related to the CNC and taxa changes https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/cnc-server-impact-on-taxa-changes/2817/3
  • when the site confirmed it was not a CNC issue but an accidentally introduced bug, it needed fixing
  • in the interim I had started to atlas the 2 species, but only had 1 done while I awaited feedback on the message that initiated this thread
  • in the interim a different curator ran a taxa change. Under site rules they should not have been allowed to do so as they are not a designated spider curator, but nonetheless it was successfully run. I’ve emailed the site directly asking how this happened. My fear is whatever fix they had done for the bug per point 1 in this has broken the taxa security, but will await feedback. EDIT - sorry I misread the change, it was drafted by and run by two different people, the one who ran it was allowed to do so.

One final note is the 2 remaining soecies have extremely similar common names, I wonder if that should be changed, or them simply removed.