iSpot Dictionary Edition 2

iSpot Dictionary Edition 2 - Southern Africa : The iSpot dictionary is now updated and tested.

The iSpot dictionary is now updated and tested.

Some significant additions that will affect us:

* It now includes all s African Lepidoptera. Thanks to Hermann we now have all our moths loaded. The “latest” classification (it seems to change weekly) of the Lepidoptera has also been done. Unfortunately not yet the synonyms, so some of the names in the old field guides will not show up. And this applies to quite a few names currently on iSpot. So if you are looking for a challenge, please make a note of any name changes you notice ( if it does not link to the dictionary then suspect a name change! Very many thanks to Hermann and the LepSoc for providing the lists: over 13 500 species!

* Most of the Minor Insect groups are now loaded to species or at least family. These include Springtails Collembola , Diplurans Diplura , Silverfish Thysanura , Bristletails Archaeognatha , Mayflies Ephemeroptera , Earwigs Dermaptera , Webspinners Embiidina , Stoneflies Plecoptera , Dobsonflies and Alderflies Megaloptera , Mantids Mantodea , Stickinsects Phasmatodea , and also Velvetworms Onychophorida and Whipspiders Amblypygi. A special thanks to Riaan for sorting out the Termites and Cockroaches Blattodea .

* Bird, Protea and Tree common names have been added. Very many thanks to Marion and also Barbara for compiling and checking the lists.

* Marine plants are now added. Thanks to John Bolton for advice on this.

* We are also experimenting with subgenera and sections in the larger genera. Let us know what you think! Play around with Leucadendron, Leucospermum, Pelargonium and Protea. Is this useful or a hindrance?

There are some issues:

* The dictionary presents all names, not just the current names, so beware when using it for plants. I am hoping to have a switch so that you can choose “All Names” or “Current Names” by early next year. Until then, please check by pressing “Get recommended”

* The dictionary search ( can take a tad long for the really big taxa with lots of species. So careful with Erica (there are 1000 current names!) and those big genera.

* iSpot does not automatically update old names to new names for observations already in the database. (this is a little controversial: some users don’t want it) We will sort this out in iSpot V3 later this year.

* Some of the Common Names are unnecessarily duplicated. These duplicates will be fixed in the next update later this year.

* The Lepidoptera have many taxonomic levels. If you want to keep track of what names are what, please see For instance, in animals Orders are a free-for-all (they are always ~ales for plants, but ~ptera is most used in Insect Orders) and Families ~idea and Tribes ~ini. Note that there is a modern trend to add “Clades” between the standard ranks for creating trees. It remains to be seen if these will become standard or loose favour.

* Section Crinitae occurs in both Leucospermum and Protea and is accidentally only linked to Leucospermum: will put in a patch.

If you find any errors or wish to update a name or have a recommendation, please do so at

A few reminders:

Remember that any species linked to taxonomy (easily identifiable by the EoL link in the ID and the “Taxonomic links” in the right margin) is easily searchable by a variety of means (see below). So please identify as detailed as you can and the experts will be able to see it easily if it is linked to the taxonomy and ID it still further.

The taxonomy it is extremely useful. For instance:

* Learn about relationships. All the names in the “Taxonomic links” are clickable (in fact, anything in blue on iSpot either opens a link or does something). So you can look at relative taxa (at any rank from species through families and orders to groups) just by clicking on the names. When you do so a window will open showing all observations, but also showing more taxonomy above, and a childs group below: click on these (they are in blue) to navigate around the taxonomy.

* It is also useful for searches:
To see any record of a taxon, use the “Taxonomic links” or the following formats (#### = the name):
** search for observations:
**search for observations sorted by species: (careful with the really large groups, it can take a while) Recommended method for systematic searching
* Its also useful for finding current names – type/click in the name you know and hit “Get recommended” and it will appear (you don’t have to save, and you are not obliged to use the current name if you don’t want to, although it will help in linking your observation to other observations).

* Find common names (if they exist). Fill in the Scientific Name and hit “Get recommended” and the common name will be filled in for you (if you don’t like it, or don’t like the Proper Noun format, then edit it). If there is more than one you can choose one (or reject them all and fill in your name: iSpot is a great opportunity to find out what names people are really using, so feel free to enter your “pet” names!).

* ID by common names. If you only know the Common Name type it in the Common Name and hit “Get recommended” and the Scientific Name will be filled in for you (if you don’t like it, or don’t like the Proper Noun format, then edit it) where it is not too ambiguous.
* And of course, the Spell Checker – possibly the most useful feature of the dictionary - allows you to type a few letters (five, at least, as a recommendation, or else the first three or four of the genus and species) and after a short breather iSpot will give you all your options.

If you find any errors or wish to update a name or have a recommendation, please do so at

The previous Dictionary upgrade details is available at

10 Apr 2013
Tony Rebelo