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Species coding systems in the Knowledge Base

Home Forums Fresh and Brackish Water Fishes Species coding systems in the Knowledge Base

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Matt 4 years, 12 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 50 total)
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  • #302540

    Matt
    Keymaster

    I’m intending to add some new Schistura profiles today, and among them we have photos of a number of unidentified species.

    How would everyone prefer these, and indeed any other species in need of identification, to be listed going forwards?

    I know in the past we’ve used thing like ‘ST’ numbers for Stiphodon and ‘PAN’ for Pangio, but am anxious not to create any unnecessary confusion since the site is a bit more well known now.

    There seem to be 3 three basic options:

    – use a coding system. This could be genus specific as we’ve done before, or maybe genus followed by ‘SF01’, ‘SF02’, etc.

    – just use numbers, i.e., Schistura sp. 1, Schistura sp. 2, Schistura sp. 3etc.

    – use trade names, cfs and affs wherever possible, so S. sp. 1 would become S. sp ‘ring’, for example. Some kind of numbering system would have to be used for those without any such designation, however.

    So, any preferences or opinions?

    #349756

    mikev
    Participant

    Trade names are inherently unreliable and highly mutable… imho they only should appear in footnotes… I think code/number them.

    How certain are you of being able to classify an unknown fish into a particular genus? Can Schistura sp. 5 turn out to be a new aconthocobitis later?

    If there is such a danger perhaps one should consider the 4th option: number or code all unknown nemacheiline loaches together, with a footnote in each entry indicating the current thinking about the appropriate genera.

    #349766

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ok, so we should just number them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. rather than using any letters?

    Wouldn’t have thought the chances of an unidentified fish being moved to a different genus later would be any greater than for those already assigned to a given genus – just look at what happened to Puntius recently for a good example.

    Also, if the fish had no genus name assigned to them, how would users find them in the Knowledge Base?

    #349767

    Colin
    Participant

    If you used the system with the SF numbers, does SF stand for “Seriously Fish”? I think that’s a pretty good idea because then if the fish is referred to as Puntius SF03 anywhere else then the origin of the ID is in the name. A bit like Corydoras World for the CW numbers and you know where to go if you need more info on that fish… i.e.  you ask Ian about CW numbered fish.

     

    I guess each genus would need to start at SF 1 though as opposed to the CW labelling that covers Aspidoras, Brochis and corys?

     

     

    #349769

    Jakub
    Participant

    Genus followed by ‘SF01’ sounds good to me. The letters would be an instant reminder of how the designation came into being. Plus, as Colin said, in some cases it may spread. SF gains credit ;-)

    Trade names and such could be listed somewhere at the top of the article, or indeed footnote, as suggested above.

    #349771

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Thanks for the great feedback everyone and yep Colin, that’s basically what I was thinking, with each genus starting at number 1.

    If we go with that system should I go back and relabel things that have been coded differently in the past so that we’re consistent across the board?

    #349772

    Plaamoo
    Participant

    If we go with that system should I go back and relabel things that have been coded differently in the past so that we’re consistent across the board?

     

    However you choose to do it I’d say consistency a good idea.

    #349786

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Having slept on this not sure how comfortable I am with the idea of ‘SF’ numbers. Don’t see what value they add to anything beyond referring people back to ourselves which seems a somewhat selfish approach, unless I’m missing something?

    Perhaps a simple numbering system would be best?

    #349788

    Plaamoo
    Participant

    @matt said:
    Having slept on this not sure how comfortable I am with the idea of ‘SF’ numbers. Don’t see what value they add to anything beyond referring people back to ourselves which seems a somewhat selfish approach, unless I’m missing something?

    Perhaps a simple numbering system would be best?

    Your humility is admirable Matt, but if the system originates from SF, shouldn’t it be clear that’s the case? It seems only practical to me.

    #349794

    retro_gk
    Participant

    sp. 001… is the simplest and most consistent form. If a collection locality is known, or if the fish has other names (trade or hobbyist), sp. “location” and alternative names should be mentioned somewhere and, if possible, included in the meta/search tags for the page. This is for the benefit of search engines.

    That said, an SFnum label is a good idea. Publicity is always a good thing with online media :D

    #349797

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ok cheers lads. 🙂 So we go with SF numbers then, in the format genus-SFnum starting from 001 in each case?

    Rahul, we’ve just started the process of adding that kind of info to the search tags for each species, including synonyms, but it’ll take a wee while to get through them all, not least because there’s a certain loach paper to deal with at the minute. 😡

    #349818

    mikev
    Participant

    Wouldn’t have thought the chances of an unidentified fish being moved to a different genus later would be any greater than for those already assigned to a given genus – just look at what happened to Puntius recently for a good example.

    I’m more concerned about the possibility when you cannot make a good genus guess based on photos, this will surely happen.

    Also, if the fish had no genus name assigned to them, how would users find them in the Knowledge Base?

    Off the family. There should be a page that lists all the genera for say nemacheiline loaches, the same page can also list all the “unsorted” entries. The problem of how to find in the KB hits both ways: if you don’t know the genus, you cannot find the entries, but if the genus was entered incorrectly in the KB, you will not find it either.

    #349823

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Mike, remember a few months ago we talked about adding galleries for unidentified species?

    Well, we had a look at it and it really wouldn’t be easy to implement with the way the site is designed, plus the fact WordPress is still quite limited in some ways.

    I’d love to include indexes of genera, etc., but think this (and a lot of other ideas) might have to wait for the next major update, so for now we’ll have to work with what we have.

    You can search by family using advanced search on the main KB landing page, so guess any fish we can’t agree a genus for could still be located that way. Oddly though, that’s yet to happen in 5 years…

    #349835

    mikev
    Participant

    Yeah, having indices by genera (and in fact as many views on the hierarchy as possible) would be nice.

    Two more thoughts on labeling undescribed species: (1) notice that c* and l* numbers are not based on genera, in some cases the genera is iffy anyway (this is more for l* numbers). However, (2) i’m no longer sure that what I suggested is workable with the way Kottelat reshuffled the loaches. We now seem to have beaufortia and sinogastromyzon in different families… (groan)

    Whatever you can do….

    #349844

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Yep. :) That’s one reason why using genus-plus-number seems to make sense.

    Another is that it avoids the use of lots of alphabetic characters which could become confusing in no time, and it would be consistent across the site. Exceptions would have to be made regarding the catfish and Apistogramma systems already in use, though.

    What’s best to do with species we’re unable to confidently place into a genus is trickier, agreed. More input please!

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