What's the right way to do this (hypothetical) taxon split?

Let’s say I have four related species: 1, 2, 3, and 4. A paper comes out that invalidates 1 and says most of its range should go to 2, but with a little each to 3 and 4. Is the best way to split this to expand the atlases for 2, 3, 4 and set up a split that goes from 1 to 2/3/4? Or make new taxon numbers for 2, 3, 4 because it’s significantly changing the concept of those species (necessitating the split and also 3 swaps)?

It really depends…on how many observations are on iNat of each taxon, on how “established”/known each concept of each taxon is, on how different the concepts of the taxa are on iNat vs. the research you’re referring to, on how the ranges are related to each other, etc.

If there are no observations, I’d probably just split #1 into #s 2, 3, and 4 and not bother with atlases or new taxa at all. If the ranges have a lot of overlap or are pretty fuzzy, I’d also probably not bother with atlases b/c it’s likely some would be “automatically misidentified” by the split. Better to bump back to genus than cause misidentifications.

Generally I feel it’s more important to make a new taxon when you go from sensu lato to sensu stricto rather than the other way around. It causes less disruption with all the taxon change ID updates too.

1 Like

would we be changing it based on a new paper anyway? I know we have gotten less strict about ‘no original sources’ but it really has the potential to get out of hand. I’d leave it be for a few years to see if another paper got written, especially if it’s a merge that you aren’t losing any data resolution by not merging them yet. The next person who comes along will split them again and you’ll have to do it all over again. Taxonomy is not a reliable science right now and we just have to ride it out as best we can.

It’s a hypothetical, so just pretend it’s a paper several years old and the secondary taxonomic authority that iNat follows also accepts the change. ;)

i guess, but i think in a hypothetical we should also think about that balance. If that’s all true, then so be it :)