eButterfly Taxonomy Updated

White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria chariclea montinus).

Months in the making, we’ve just made substantial improvements and corrections to the taxonomic backbone for eButterfly. This will drastically improve the user experience when entering checklists and exploring data.

The eButterfly taxonomy is a hierarchical approach to creating a butterfly list for checklist data entry and identifications. Users can now select a taxon from any level that best represents their identification for the observation: superfamily Papilionoidea (butterflies), family, subfamily, genus, species, or subspecies (coming soon). If you have a butterfly sighting or image on your checklist and you have no idea what it is, now it can be identified at the superfamily level – butterfly. Or maybe you know it is a swallowtail, but you’re not sure which species. You can select the subfamily Papilioninae (swallowtails). If possible, other users will eventually help you identify it to species, which improves the eButterfly database and perhaps helps you learn too.The eButterfly taxonomy generally follows the Illustrated Lists of American Butterflies (Warren et al. 2017: http://www.butterfliesofamerica.com). The eButterfly taxonomy will be updated at the beginning of each year (January-February) based on new taxonomic discoveries, updates, and perhaps expansions to other regions. Currently, eButterfly can be used from Alaska through Canada south to Panama, and including Hawaii, Bermuda and the Caribbean islands. We now have 3,040 species in 685 genera in the eButterfly taxonomy. Each year the eButterfly taxonomy will be archived (with a detailed change summary) and made available for download. A new web page for this is being created at eButterfly.

For this update, we corrected many small errors in the eButterfly taxonomy. This included:

  • Parent-child relationships between taxonomic entities were improved and corrected.
  • Duplicate entries that referred to the same species were merged.
  • Formatting issues for some common and scientific names were corrected.
  • A new system for preserving taxonomic order more consistently was implemented.

After all of these corrections were completed and verified, we used a sophisticated computer script to correct and update every user’s observations in eButterfly. For example, the eButterfly taxonomy accidentally had Scudder’s Sulphur as a duplicate misspell and counted it as two species: Colias scudderi and Colias scudderii. If you used one of those on a checklist and later used the other spelling on another checklist, your life list would have counted those as two different species and inflated your life list. Mistakes like these have been corrected and merged. Or perhaps you have a Plains Branded Skipper on a checklist. This was previously a subspecies of the Western Branded Skipper and has been upgraded to a species in eButterfly (Hesperia colorado assiniboia to Hesperia assiniboia). Maybe your life list gained a species if you reported this species on a checklist. A full list of changes can be found below. Some features in the website interface do not yet take advantage of some of these updates and changes to the taxonomy. Our programmers are now updating and standardizing all data queries and filters across the eButterfly software to correctly display results. Meanwhile, if you notice any changes that might be incorrectly implemented for your observations, please send us a detailed report using an eButterfly support ticket at https://help.e-butterfly.org. We are working on many more exciting features and upgrades that target user requests. Keep the feedback coming and help us make eButterfly better for everyone.

Thank you for eButterflying!

eButterfly Taxonomy Change Summary

Update Reason
Memphis glycerium -> Fountainea glycerium changed genus
Atalopedes campestris -> Atalopedes campestris duplicate
Callophrys polios -> Callophrys polios duplicate
Oeneis jutta -> Oeneis jutta duplicate
Celastrina sp -> Celastrina sp. duplicate
Phyciodes sp -> Phyciodes sp. duplicate
Urbanus evona -> Urbanus evona duplicate
Polygonia sp -> Polygonia sp. duplicate
Erynnis sp -> Erynnis sp. duplicate
Astraptes talus -> Astraptes talus duplicate
Thorybes sp -> Thorybes sp. duplicate
Papilio sp -> Papilio sp. duplicate
Papilio sp -> Papilio sp. duplicate
Satyrium sp -> Satyrium sp. duplicate
Colias sp -> Colias sp. duplicate
Euphyes-Pompeius-Wallengrenia sp -> Euphyes-Pompeius-Wallengrenia sp. duplicate
Pieridae sp -> Pieridae sp. duplicate
Euphilotes sp -> Euphilotes sp. duplicate
Boloria sp -> Boloria sp. duplicate
Fritillary sp -> Fritillary sp. duplicate
Hermeuptychia sp -> Hermeuptychia sp. duplicate
Pieris sp -> Pieris sp. duplicate
Manataria sp -> Manataria sp duplicate
Urbanus sp -> Urbanus sp duplicate
Junonia evarete -> Junonia evarete duplicate
Allosmaitia strophius -> Allosmaitia strophius duplicate
Speyeria sp -> Speyeria sp. duplicate
Oeneis rosovii -> Oeneis philipi duplicate
Dyscophellus euribates -> Euriphellus euribates duplicate, different name
Decinea huasteca -> Decinea decinea huasteca misclassified & misspelled duplicate
Euphilotes intermedia -> Euphilotes glaucon intermedia misclassified duplicate
Callophrys comstocki -> Callophrys sheridanii comstocki misclassified duplicate
Manataria maculata -> Manataria hercyna maculata misclassified duplicate
Papilio pharnaces -> Papilio rogeri pharnaces misclassified duplicate
Colias elis -> Colias meadii elis misclassified duplicate
Anthocharis stella -> Anthocharis sara stella misclassified duplicate
Atraptes sp -> Astraptes sp misspelled duplicate
Polythrix mexicana -> Polythrix mexicanus misspelled duplicate
Piruna microstict -> Piruna microsticta misspelled duplicate
Euphilotes ellisi -> Euphilotes ellisii misspelled duplicate
Phyciodes pallidus -> Phyciodes pallida misspelled duplicate
Colias scudderi -> Colias scudderii misspelled duplicate
Eurema chamberlaini -> Pyrisitia chamberlaini new genus name
Unknown sp1 -> Butterfly sp merged
Unknown sp2 -> Butterfly sp merged
Unknown sp -> Butterfly sp merged
Hesperia manitoba -> Hesperia comma reassigned
Callophrys grynea -> Callophrys gryneus reassigned
Boloria myrina -> Boloria selene reassigned
Nymphalis j-album -> Nymphalis l-album reassigned
Coenonympha inornata -> Coenonympha tullia reassigned
Oeneis calais -> Oeneis chryxus reassigned
Oeneis balderi -> Oeneis jutta reassigned
Leptophobia aripa -> Junonia evarete reassigned
Erynnis juvenalis/horatius -> Erynnis sp species combo entry to genus level
Pyrgus communis/albescens -> Pyrgus sp species combo entry to genus level
Plebejus acmon/lupinus -> Plebejus sp species combo entry to genus level
Papilio rumiko/cresphontes -> Papilio sp. species combo entry to genus level
Anthocharis sara julia -> Anthocharis sara species to subspecies
Anthocharis sara thoosa -> Anthocharis sara species to subspecies
Pieris marginalis meckyae -> Pieris marginalis species to subspecies
Lycaena rubidus ferrisi -> Lycaena rubidus species to subspecies
Callophrys nelsoni -> Callophrys gryneus species to subspecies
Limenitis arthemis astyanax -> Limenitis arthemis species to subspecies
Phyciodes cocyta incognitus -> Phyciodes cocyta species to subspecies
Morpho helenor peleides -> Morpho helenor species to subspecies
Neominois ridingsii wyomingo -> Neominois ridingsii species to subspecies
Pyrgus centaureae wyandot -> Anisochoria pedaliodina species to subspecies
Carterocephalus mandan -> Carterocephalus palaemon species to subspecies
Agathymus neumoegeni chisosensis -> Agathymus chisosensis subspecies to species
Hesperia colorado assiniboia -> Hesperia assiniboia subspecies to species
Callophrys sheridanii dumetorum -> Callophrys dumetorum subspecies to species
Callophrys gryneus loki -> Callophrys loki subspecies to species
Coenonympha tullia nipisiquit -> Coenonympha nipisiquit subspecies to species