[Taxacom] Species Pages - where are the online descriptions?
m.j.dallwitz at netspeed.com.au
Sun Feb 1 08:30:01 CST 2009
Roger Hyam wrote:
> I am looking for websites that have good "Species Pages". By species page
> I mean (and this is my definition) a page that contains a description of
> the species and not a page that simply lists the nomenclature associated
> with the acceptance of a name.
_My_ definition of 'species page' or 'fact sheet' is a non-comparative,
cutesy, or Mickey-Mouse description. You provided some good examples.
If you want comparative descriptions rather than species pages, you can find
some at http://delta-intkey.com/www/data.htm, e.g.
Attributes shown in bold are diagnostic descriptions, i.e. they are
(usually) sufficient to separate each taxon from the other taxa in the
group, with a minimum number of differences (usually 1 or 2). Thus, you
should be able to confirm an identification by reading just the bold parts.
> You could send the URL of a species page to a student who didn't know what
> the organism was and they could use it to confirm the identity of a
Yes, provided that they had a tentative identification. However, this is
better done via the Intkey interactive keys that accompany the descriptions
at http://delta-intkey.com. For example, Intkey can suggest characters that
will tend to lead to _confirmation_ of a tentative identification in the
shortest number of steps (the 'Separate' option, available in Advanced
Mode), can show the differences between specified taxa, and can show tiled
images of specified taxa.
The problem with reading full descriptions to confirm identifications are
that they tend to be long, and they may not mention attributes that are the
usual condition in the group, e.g.
http://delta-intkey.com/angio/www/implicit.htm. The problem with using
diagnostic descriptions is that some of the attributes may be difficult or
impossible to observe in the specimen, e.g. flowers or fruits may not be
available. Both of these problems can be avoided by using the interactive key.
Contact information: http://delta-intkey.com/contact/dallwitz.htm
DELTA home page: http://delta-intkey.com
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