I recently had an issue with removing invalid taxa (subspecies for a sea turtle, where there are no recognized subspecies). See this flagged taxon and comment here:
I think iNat was providing these taxa as ID matches for new observations because the Wikipedia page for the species (E. imbricata) had listed 2 subspecies. I had to edit the Wikipedia page to remove those out of date references with the latest assessment and taxonomy sources.
Is there a way to correct for invalid taxa, however, without having to update external sources that are currently not valid?
Wikipedia is not used as source for taxons - to find the source you can check “Taxonomy Details”, i.e. on https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/39673-Eretmochelys-imbricata-bissa you can go to https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/39673/taxonomy_details and it tells you the source: Reptile Database: 21 December 2019
Wikipedia is only used to show the “About” information (so the “source” there is the source of the text, not the taxon).
I think it’s up to curators how strictly they follow the source - I’d just give them some time to respond to your flag for now.
As I mentioned in the taxon flag discussion, it looks like those subspecies taxons ultimately derive from the publication “Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles, and Crocodilians” which is published by The Center for North American Herpetology. You can view a PDF of an older edition here: https://www.amphibianark.org/pdf/CNAH_Common_Names_VI_2009.pdf. It gives:
Eretmochelys Fitzinger, 1843 — HAWKSBILL
E. imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766)…Hawksbill
E. i. bissa (Rüppell, 1835)…Pacific Hawksbill
E. i. imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766)…Atlantic Hawksbill
That particular names list for North American herps is no longer active or being updated. The Society for Study of Amphibs and Reptiles (SSAR) produces a names list for common names but that is also looked to for taxonomy (correctly or not). The most recent is 2017.
The iNat taxon pages with descriptive info derived from Wikipedia are sometimes out of synch with the taxonomy that iNat is using. I never rely on wiki for taxonomic info.
Yes Reptile Database which iNat uses a fair amount lists the subspecies as valid: http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Eretmochelys&species=imbricata
If you think it is no longer valid, it may be worth submitting to Reptile Database. If there’s a source they don’t have that supports dropping the subspecies, they usually incorporate new literature fairly quickly.
Yeah, Reptile Database stays more current with the taxonomic literature for reptiles than other sources.
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