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All-Leps

While doing the research for a new guide page, I used the same bookmarked link I've used a thousand times to see what All-Leps had to say about the status of the species- and got a 404 error. It turns out that the site has rearranged things, and now uses a new classification scheme. I'm sure it won't be much different at the species level, but it no longer shows superfamilies, and the families and subfamilies aren't the same. The only difference I noticed straight off was that the Erebidae has been lumped back in with the Noctuidae, but there are probably others.

The main problem I see is that our higher classification is based on All-Leps, which no longer supports it. Is there another source that will provide that, or are we going to have to muddle through on a case-by-case basis?

MPG Taxa Table Checklist
The MPG Taxa Table Checklist can be found in the "Latin Name Index" web page at MPG here. (Click on "Download current MPG checklist file" near the middle of the page.)

For the last few years Bob Patterson has been compiling this list using updates at ZooKeys and is now making it available at MPG. If anyone finds any problems with this list, please let me know. Thanks!

Update Request
The Moth Info page was never updated to reflect the policy change stated below. The Info page references a discussion here. I added a comment to request that the Info page be updated.

 
Tortricidae page, too
I'm not sure whether we're following MPG or Tortricid,net for that family.

 
MPG Please
This is exactly why I am bringing this up.

A contributor, Mark Dreiling, went to the effort of taking high quality photographs of a specimen and then sends it to BOLD for DNA testing. The result came back Thyraylia hollandana, see image #LLL1089057 here. The image is submitted to BugGuide here (page created by Maury J. Heiman based on this image) and MPG here. Another contributor, Tom Murray, places an image, tentatively identified by me, in the Guide under Aethes hollandana. I'd feel fine with moving Tom's image to Thyraylia hollandana and deleting the species page that I caused to have created. I think Tom would be happy with that too. I would feel silly doing the reverse, moving Mark's image and deleting the page created as a result of an image submitted which was DNA tested and accepted by MPG.

I checked Tortricid.net and couldn't find a list and there are no images of hollandana. Let's suppose that there is a list on the site, that I could not find, and hollandana is on it. Should we expect an editor, i. e. myself or Maury J. Heiman, to know that we have a Tortricidae exception? I'm not an expert and I honestly don't think I'd remember to cross reference Tortricid.net to check my work.

I guess I'd rather just stay with MPG and live with any of its short comings for now. There are currently two species pages for the same species. I have an answer. I would like to fix it.

 
tortricid.net
I just went to http://www.tortricidae.com/, clicked on "CATALOGUE", then clicked on "search", then typed "hollandana" into the "species" box, then clicked on "search", and it returned the result:

THYRAYLIA hollandana Kearfott, 1907 (Phalonia), Can. Ent. 39:159 TL: USA, Pennsylvania, Alleghemy Co., Oak Station. Syntype: AMNH. female.

So tortricid.net is in agreement with MPG, as I would expect to be the case in general.

My Two Cents
I propose that we should follow MPG. For most practical purposes, it seems to me that BugGuide rookies and veterans alike turn to MPG long before they turn to All-Leps. It's more user friendly and up to date. Quality control is way better too.

I find it confusing and difficult to use a list from an outdated source with errors which is neither user friendly nor is it one that most BigGuide users typically use as their primary resource.

 
I agree
I second any motion to abandon all-leps for a move to mpg. What is the status of this issue?

 
We've moved to following MPG...
At least, as far as I know we're in agreement on that. I'm using MPG as my reference whenever I make new guide pages, and I think other editors are doing the same. I don't think anyone has gone through systematically to see what existing guide pages need changing--please let us know if you are aware of any.

Chris Mallory has gone through Lafontaine & Schmidt's (2010) revision of Noctuoiodea and listed the changes that need to be made to that superfamily here. I've done some of them, but got too busy with field work. I'll try to get to this in the fall/winter if no one has taken care of it by then.

[Edit: Chris, I just noticed you're an editor now. In that case, of course, there's no need to let "us" know; you can just go ahead and make the changes, being sure to add the outdated synonym to the guide page so people searching under the old name will still get to the right place.]

 
For those of us -
who are essentially moth-illiterate but need to move moth images and attempt to create species pages sometimes, can someone point me to the taxonomy "ladder" on MPG? The moth plates don't seem to show info. on subfamily, tribe, etc. that we need to make nodes on BG... Hope this makes some sense. :)

 
Taxonomy
For Noctuoidea, download Lafontaine & Schmidt. For the rest, I'll send you the Excel file that Bob Patterson sent me several months ago, which is what I've been using. The ideal scenario might be for a group of interested editors to receive periodic updates of this file from Bob, if he doesn't mind...

 
updating...
I moved some former Tarachida into the genus Ponometia (Acontiinae) as per the recent update. However, when I moved the species the images did not follow. For example, if you click on Ponometia venustula there are no longer any images associated with this species. However when you search for the species you find the images and they appear under the correct Ponometia link.

So, what did I screw up? Or, is this a lag in the database? I can search for the species and re-move them, but I assume I missed a simple step somewhere.

 
Don't worry...
It's just a database lag. I think you'll see the photos showing up within an hour or so.

 
Another note...
When you move a species node to a new genus, and the species has no common name entered, the old Latin name shows up as the common name. See, for instance, Ponometia venustula - Tarachidia venustula. You can cut and paste Tarachidia venustula into the "Synonyms and other taxonomic changes" box, and then copy and paste Ponometia venustula into the common name box (the system requires that something be entered for the common name).

 
-
Still learning how to edit, thanks!

Update
I contacted Bob Patterson and he has sent me an Excel file with the current taxonomy of every described North American moth, including superfamily, family, subfamily, tribe, and subtribe (where applicable). So I can check this file when we're not sure where something belongs... see my most recent comment here for what the future holds for Noctuoidea.

 
I like the idea
of trying to stay as up to date as possible. I'm not sure I support a system where one person holds a speadsheet and we all check with him.

 
Right...
I didn't mean that, exactly... I'd be happy to pass a copy along to anyone who is interested. We just need to recognize that it's a work in progress, so we should be on the lookout for any changes that may have happened since the file was last updated. I think MPG has a page that lists all of the taxonomic changes as they occur, although I'm not sure where it is exactly--I get to it once in a while by searching.

 
MPG taxonomic notes page
Just bumped into it again --here

Yech
Okay, I just started to look into what to do about Erebidae. At first I was unable to locate the checklist in the newly rearranged All-Leps site (it's here), so I looked other places such as Wikipedia, and saw that the first subfamily of Erebidae, Boletobiinae, was not even listed. So I Googled the first genus under Boletobiinae, Melanomma, to figure out where it now belongs. Moths of Maryland places it in Rivulinae, and Lynn Scott's page agrees. This subfamily also does not exist on Wikipedia. This "Wikimedia" page places it in Calpinae, but Wikipedia doesn't include it in their list for that subfamily either. Fortunately, I tried again and was able to find the list on All-Leps. It does include Boletobiinae, but Melanomma isn't there. Instead, it is to be found under both Phytometrinae and Rivulinae. I guess the three votes for Rivulinae win? The second genus we have under Boletobiinae, Mycterophora, is listed under both Boletobiinae and Rivulinae on All-Leps, and the third is listed only under Rivulinae. It seems like, in theory, we should be able to update to the new All-Leps scheme. I just hope this is an isolated fluke and is not indicative of the state of the list in general.

 
Yech, indeed
I just created a page for Metalectra, which is listed both under Catocalinae and Eublemminae. I noticed that one of the entries expanded on the page and the other didn't, although they both supposedly contained 11 subtaxa. My guess is that the re-organization is still underway, and some taxa are listed under both the old and new parent nodes due to being added to the new without being deleted from the old.

As for the rest being like this: I think the Noctuoidea is a uniquely twisted maelstrom of taxonomic insanity, with taxa continually and randomly redistributing themselves, and taxonomists battling in the tar pits like wounded mastodons over which pins the angels are supposed to be dancing on... ;-)

Seriously, though, I looked at the Noctuoidea first because I knew there was controversy and differences would be most likely there. I doubt there are many other taxa with this kind of difficulty.

 
"re-organization is still underway"
That's a nice way of putting it, and I wish it was true, but it seems to me like more of the same kind of errors that have existed at All-Leps since the beginning almost four years ago.

A quick look at their new species checklist turned up these issues:
1. Nolidae and Arctiidae are listed as separate families as well as subfamilies (Nolinae and Arctiinae) within Noctuidae.
2. Scoopwing moths are listed in 3 places: as a separate family (Epiplemidae) and as subfamily Epipleminae under both Geometridae and Uraniidae.
3. Mixed in with the subfamilies of Noctuidae is the genus Phalaena which the ICZN placed on the Official Index of Rejected and Invalid Generic Names in Zoology over 50 years ago. A Google search for Phalaena lugubris, for example, shows All-Leps as the only site in the world listing that species name. I wonder what it refers to?

I mentioned giving up on All-Leps some time ago. Apparently, quality control is still not important to them.

 
For what it's worth,
Bob Patterson's list has Metalectra in Eublemminae, so we've got it in the right place at this point... except that that subfamily is in the wrong family, of course.

I'm sure you're right about the perpetual instability of Noctuoidea, but at least come February we'll have a comprehensive revision of the group to refer to.

 
For The Record.............
It's not "Bob Patterson's List." Trust me on this :-)

When the Lafontaine-Schmidt list for the superfamily Noctuoidea is published at ZooKeys in February (also on paper but I don't know when/where) anyone will be able to download or acquire a copy. There will be many higher level taxonomic changes, lumps, splits, etc. In the same special issue of ZooKeys there will be a number of papers describing many new species. This will be as "up to date" as things get for a while. There will be hundreds of footnotes/citations explaining the changes (many of which have been in effect at MPG for almost two years). It is expected that there will be an online updatable version (at MPG I hope, but that remains to be seen) that the authors will update periodically (at least every two years). Erebidae and Nolidae will be recognized as two (of four) "new" families, Arctiidae becomes a subfamily Arctiinae within Noctuidae. The entire superfamily Noctuoidea will be presented in phylogenetic sequence. After this is published we'll be working hard to get spread specimen photos of all the new (and currently lacking) species.

We seem to remember that we have already left All-leps
See discussion here, but there was a longer discussion somewhere else.

 
It was proposed
The discussions I remember were all about the shortcomings of All-Leps, not what to replace it with. We did find a source for butterflies- but not for moths.

Charley Eiseman has since proposed we follow MPG, but I raised the point that MPG isn't comprehensive- it's an ad hoc, build-it-as-needed set-up like we are.

Besides- do they have higher taxa? There are several good references at the generic and specific level that mention families- but tribes, subfamilies and superfamilies are hard to come by.

 
MPG
I believe MPG does have a complete species list for North American moths, because there are many species in the list that are not hyperlinked. Regarding higher taxonomy, suborders and superfamilies are indicated here. We will mostly have to look elsewhere for subfamilies and tribes though. I think these taxa are only included when there are enough images to fill up a whole page, or something like that.

We are indeed behind the times in recognizing Erebidae as a family. This was brought up here but has generated little discussion so far.

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