[uf-discuss] Proposal: species

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Sat Sep 23 14:42:58 PDT 2006

In message <C13ACF9D.7B9DE%tantek at cs.stanford.edu>, Tantek Çelik
<tantek at cs.stanford.edu> writes

>Andy, one thing that might help for the species discussion is if you
>could cite URLs to a site or sites with millions (or even thousands) of
>clearly obvious uses of "species" terminology

I have done so. Wikipedia, WikiSpecies, The Global Lepidoptera Names
Index (290,099 names in total), UK moths (2400 species).

To which can be added, for a start:

        Tree of Life

        Birds of the World -- current valid scientific avian names.
        (2154 Genera; 9919 sp)


        (HTML index of 115 years' worth - content of pages in PDF)

        4700+ bird species

        All known Dinosaur genera - over 1,000

        All known Dinosaur species (1,000s)

        100s of UK sightings, each listing one or more species, added

        Orthoptera Species File
        contains full synonymic and taxonomic information for over
        25,000 valid species and *over 39,000 taxonomic names* (all
        ranks, valid and not valid).  There are over 130,000 citations
        to references.

        over 4,000 pictures [of] insects and spiders with descriptions,
        *taxonomy* and natural history

        Too many :-(

On the other hand, why do all the references need to be on a few
"mega-sites"? Google finds, (and I'm aware that it's counts are

           114,000 for "Sedum acre"
           287,000 for "Rattus rattus"
           360,000 for "Struthio camelus"
           588,000 for "Acer palmatum"
           762,000 for "Limosa limosa"
           766,000 for "Sturnus vulgaris"
         5,240,000 for "Rattus norvegicus"
        15,800,000 for "Homo sapiens"
        39,900,000 for "E.Coli"         (and that excludes other
                                        spellings like "ecoli"

and those are all for single species searches, with no common names; for

           623,000 for "Black-tailed Godwit"

Flickr finds:

        135,305 photos about insect
        561,372 photos about bird

            402 photos about solanum
            420 photos about silene
            522 photos about lupinus
            920 photos about digitalis
          1,229 photos about quercus
          1,241 photos about tulipa
          1,839 photos about sedum
          3,302 photos about narcissus
          8,458 photos about acer

          1,480 photos about vulgaris

            212 photos about fringilla
            254 photos about vanellus
            429 photos about motacilla
            525 photos about anser
            815 photos about Sterna
            886 photos about parus
            923 photos about carduelis
          1,026 photos about turdus
          1,090 photos about cygnus
          1,555 photos about falco
          2,026 photos about buteo
          2,097 photos about larus      (inc 1,813 photos about larus
                                        and gull)

          2,943 photos about pica       A search of Flickr for "magpie"
                                        finds several which include the
                                        name "pica pica", but it's
                                        apparently not possible to
                                        search for the scientific name
                                        alone, as all the tags appear to
                                        be single words.

          4,575 photos about passer     (Genus name for sparrows; many
                                        labelled with full binomials)

        Total so far > 39,000

repeating those searches for many more species (the last groups, above,
are birds on the UK list; there are 536 photos about cardinalis, which
is not) would give a suitably high total; and again that's without
searching for common names.

See also:



Of the insects alone, there are approximately 5,000 dragonfly species,
2,000 praying mantis, 20,000 grasshopper, 170,000 butterfly and moth,
120,000 fly, 82,000 true bug, 350,000 beetle, and 110,000 bee and ant
species described to date. It's likely that all are catalogued, on-line.

> (not just offhanded references like "human being" or "plant")

I have never suggested "plant" as an example (though that's not to say
it couldn't be one, on a page comparing the plant and animal kingdoms).

"Human being" is a reference to a species, and should be marked up as
such on any page which includes it in a biological context.
Andy Mabbett
                Say "NO!" to compulsory ID Cards:  <http://www.no2id.net/>

                Free Our Data:  <http://www.freeourdata.org.uk>

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