Why are some taxa not listed in phylogenetic order?

I have noticed that taxa are not listed in the correct phylogenetic order for some taxa. Take insects for instance. When I click on Insecta in the taxonomy list, Lepidoptera is listed prior to Ephemeroptera. The whole list is incorrect. Same for birds.

The reason I am asking about this is because I have students make observations using iNat, then download their data. Then, I ask them to rearrange the taxa into phylogenetic order. But…they cannot use the suggested “order” (not to be confused with the taxa “order”) of taxa and have to go elsewhere, like an insect textbook, or World of Birds life list, to know what “order” or arrangement to use.

I understand that phylogeny changes all the time, based on DNA analysis, etc. But, it seems that the “order” of taxa on iNat is way off…unless I am missing something.
Thanks!

Can you provide a screenshot or URLs to indicate where you’re referring to?

iNat has never listed taxa in phylogenetic order, it just lists them by rank and alphabetically.

1 Like

Well here Lepidoptera is below Ephemeroptera, but this pic still has them all out of order.

I see this one is in alphabetical. It would just be a great help, both for research and education, to get them in phylogenetic order. I understand it would be a mess of a job to keep them ‘accurate’, and ‘accurate’ depends on the latest source of information which changes all the time. But at least the most widely accepted could be adopted.

So what you’re really asking for is the implementation of a cladistic system to iNat? That seems like it would be a little too cluttered for normal usage

Yes, thank you for that clarification. But, I don’t think it would clutter things. It would be the same ‘look’, just in arrangement that is more scientifically accurate. Again, I understand the work required to make that happen would be intense.

1 Like

This keeps being marked a solution, but really my question is why? Not, how has iNat historically ordered them. Sorry for the confusion. I tend to not state my questions in a clear manner. Why does iNat not use phylogenetic order, at least to family?

1 Like

Most forum members aren’t staff, so if you have a question for staff directly it’s often better to email help@inaturalist.org. It is pretty standard practice to sort taxa alphabetically though - iNat was probably modeled after other online taxonomic databases at the time it was created. (If you have a request to implement a different sort option, you can add a new topic at #feature-requests)

Thank you, that makes sense. I’ll try that.

In the scientific literature, at least for anything aquatic insect, taxa are listed phylogenetically. I think I am correct to say that is true of most other taxa as well. So that’s why I have my students list taxa in that way. It’s a pain to have to go back and forth when I am teaching, and when they are learning. Thanks so much for your help.

1 Like

I think that it would not only be necessary to sort the Orders differently (in the example above), it would be necessary to replace the list of Orders with a treeview (like this) of these Orders, because a reordered list would become poorly intelligible.