[Taxacom] Species Pages - where are the online descriptions?

Felix Sperling felix.sperling at ualberta.ca
Sun Feb 1 16:41:05 CST 2009


Here are species pages for 2500 insects (and a few spiders) that  
occur in Alberta:  http://www.entomology.ualberta.ca/index.html

Hit "Search the collection", select a species name from the pick list  
in the middle panel, and search for that page.
For example:

Distribution maps and seasonal phenology histograms are generated  
dynamically from the data on specimens in our collections, mainly the  
University of Alberta Strickland Museum of Entomology.

Content is mostly built by a few dedicated amateurs, with structural  
support from the University of Alberta. Pages for some groups of taxa  
have been produced under contracts that I cobbled together when I  
could get funding. Others have been produced by senior undergrad or  
grad students in an advanced taxonomy course that I teach. We are  
proud to have managed to produce 2500 species pages, but it is  
humbling to think that it has taken about 8 years to get this far,  
and we have still only done the easy 10% of the insects known from  
Alberta. But the Lepidoptera pages are about half done, and are  
supported by a local group called the Alberta Lepidopterists' Guild:


Felix Sperling, Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
cw405a Biological Sciences Centre
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta  T6G 2E9  Canada
Office: 780-492-3991;  Fax: 780-492-9234

On 1-Feb-09, at 3:58 AM, Roger Hyam wrote:

> Hi,
> 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. 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
> specimen.
> An example of what I think of as a species page is  the Fishbase page
> for Gadus morhua (Atlantic Cod):
> http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=69
> There is a lot of information on this page and a description of the
> organism can be gleaned from it.
> This FloraBase page is another example:
> http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/26
> Very brief but attempts to define the taxon.
> Wikipedia has a good page for cod but there isn't a good taxon
> description so it is a borderline species page
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadus_morhua
> Catalogue of Life has a goal of producing a page for every species and
> it aims to do this by combining pre-existing data I believe but I
> wonder where this data is.
> Their page on badger comes from Arkive (http://www.arkive.org/) which
> is an imaging database http://eol.org/pages/328046 and their page on
> cod comes from Fishbase http://eol.org/pages/206692
> Pages I don't consider Species Pages are:
> Catalogue of Life has a page that comes from Fishbase but that chucks
> out the "useful" information and only maintains the nomenclature.
> http://www.catalogueoflife.org/show_species_details.php? 
> record_id=5347829
> The ITIS page is similar to the CoL page
> http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt? 
> search_topic=TSN&search_value=164712
> Likewise Fauna Europaea page for Meles meles (Badger) lacks a
> description because it is a nomenclatural database.
> http://www.faunaeur.org/full_results.php?id=305312
> I'd like to build a list of sites offering "real" species page
> information - with descriptions. At the moment it seems like the major
> source of these pages are electronic versions of the literature. We
> have good descriptions in sources like eFloras.org http:// 
> www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=5&taxon_id=242417133
>   and I hope BHL will be a source. This is a shame as these pages
> typically lack large numbers of images and the possibility of
> including other media.
> I'd be grateful for any suggestions of sites that contain species
> pages (as per my definition).
> Many thanks,
> Roger
> BTW: I'd rather use the term "Taxon Page" as these things could apply
> at any rank but there seems to be a consensus to call them Species
> Pages no matter what rank they apply to and people are typically
> interested in species.
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