Help:Editing species pages

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Species pages form the core content of Antwiki. A page already exists for each named species, as explained here. You must have a user account to edit pages in Antwiki. The term editing is used here in a general way to refer to page changes that includes adding new content and revising existing content.

If you have editorial privileges there are no limits on what you can edit on a species page. Even so there are important elements of named pages (Template Fields) that should be left alone to insure the species pages are consistent and accurate. Editors should also be responsible in other ways too (be respectful of fellow Antwiki editors, add content that is consistent with Antwiki’s aims, and respect copyrights.

Finding a species page

There are numerous ways to find a specific species page. You can type the binomial name in the search box and click on "Go." Alternatively, using Pheidole rhea as an example, you can type the name like this: rhea and then hit return (an "enter" keystroke). Both methods will take you directly to the species page. Another method for finding a particular species page is to use the hierarchically organized lists of ant names to navigate to the page you want.

Species Page Core Content

All the species pages were initially created from a species page template. Template generated pages contain an important set of core content but have not yet been hand edited. Template generated content includes a species specific taxobox, an appropriate set of categories, a google map, the name of the country where the type specimen was collected, a Bolton catalogue entry and a few headings.

Template Created Fields

If you or another editor inadvertently edited out a piece of standard species page content you can easily determine what needs to be added back in by looking at the species page template page (see link just above). From there you should be able to find the appropriate edited text, and where it should be placed, to reinsert the missing content.


The structure provided by the species page template creates consistency across all species pages and is best left in place. Additional fields and headings can be added (see suggested additional headings for some ideas) but it is not advisable to alter the primary headings.


The taxonomic and nomenclature information in each taxobox is important for organizing named pages into hierarchical categories, for integrating occurrence and nomenclature information shown on each page and for sharing information with EOL. With the exception of adding representative images taxoboxes should not have their text or coding edited.

Distribution Map

The google map shown on a page is initially set to show the entire earth. You can change this view to more accurately show the known range of a species. Even if there is some uncertainty about the actual range it can be helpful to narrow the map to a view of a particular region, e.g., something like southern Africa or Central and Northern South America.

The Project Map help page has information about adjusting the perspective of the google map. For the purpose of the species pages, you will be changing (as shown on the edit page of a species page with a google map that has not been altered from its template generated form) this - {{Google Maps}} - to something like - {{Google Maps||-7|-75|3}}. Any page that has a map that shows less than the entire world serves as an example of how these maps are generated (Pheidole biconstricta, Mystrium camillae). Just click on the edit link to the right of the distribution box of a page to view the formatting of the google map georeference specifications.

It is important to include more area than the known range for most species. This will allow future occurrence records that may be found beyond the known range to be posted and seen on the map.

Bolton Catalogue Information

The initial entry seen under the Nomenclature heading on a species page is generated by a template. On the edit view of a species page this template is specified by the text - {{Nomenclature}}. This inserts the relevant entry from an up-to-date version the the Bolton New General Catalogue. If you do any editing under this heading be sure to leave this template reference in place.

Name Related Categories

Numerous categories are used to organize each species into hierarchical lists. These categories, like categories on all Antwiki pages, are edited in at the bottom of the page. New categories can be added to the existing lists but none of the existing name related categories should be altered.

Adding Images

Photos and other visual content displayed on Antwiki are posted from files stored on the Antwiki webserver. To display an image you have on your computer on Antwiki you must first upload the file. Uploaded images are displayed on pages using some relatively easy to learn, but quite specific, syntax. The Image help page explains all of the details you need to work with images.

Images can be placed anywhere on a species page by adding coding that includes a reference to a specific image file and details about how the image is displayed, e.g., the size, place in the flow of text, etc. A explanation of the syntax used is provided here: Displaying Images

Taxobox Images

One task editors can do to help improve Antwiki is to add images to species page Taxoboxes. The Taxobox help page explains how this can be done.

Montage Images

A worker is the caste of choice for a species page taxobox. Exceptions to this would include cases where the species is a workerless parasite or if a species has been described and is only known from a caste other than the worker. What can you do if you have montage images of castes other than the worker that is already shown in the taxobox images? The headings "Castes" was put in place, in part, as a convenient place for these images. A format for adding Caste specific images is found here.

Adding Text

It is not clear what any single myrmecologist will do in adding species level information to Antwiki species pages. Our experience to date has led us to see that moving beyond factual, descriptive taxonomy and nomenclature quickly leads to a wide divergence in what kind of information will be included by any contributor. We believe that more information (ecology, data, behavior, etc) is better, provided whatever is added is informed by sound "reporting." If you include information that someone else has published or communicated, do provide attribution. Published works can be attributed in standard form, with a parathetical author year reference and then the reference listed in the proper section at the bottom of the species page. If it is not published a parenthetical (Joe Smith, 2009, personal communication) can be helpful. Providing attribution, and any appropriate full references, helps others to make their own judgement of the veracity of different pieces of species specific information. If the text you provide is your own it is attributed to you via the page history. So while you are welcome to attribute yourself as the source within the text it is by no means necessary.

Species Page Text Introduction

The top of each species page has two fixed blocks of text followed by what can be the species page introduction, i.e., edited text that is shown above the table of contents. The top of the page includes the species name, the Antwiki rally cry "From Antwiki - Bringing Ants to the World" and then the phrase "An introductory paragraph about this species should be placed here. "

For example:

Help text intro.jpg

Ideally each species page should have the latter phrase replace by a paragraph of text that serves as an introduction to that species. How is this replaced and how exactly might one go about providing an ant introduction?

The Introduction Information

If there is nothing or little known about a species this introduction is the only non-taxonomic related biological text then this should be added to the species page. There are a few different types of scenarios that you could encounter. If, as far as you know, there is no biological information known about a species it is helpful to state this by adding something like "Nothing is know about the biology of pubescens." In other cases a type label at least contains a few biological clues that can be used for the introduction. An example might be "Only known from types that were collected in pine forest from under a rock." A final but similar not-much-known category of an introduction would be where we only know a paragraph worth of information about the biology of a species. Summarize that information here and the text needed concerning the non-taxonomic biological information for this species is complete. Adding these types of introductions can be quite helpful. Anyone who comes across this species in the future, and then visits the Antwiki species page, can quickly see that have found an ant that is poorly known. This could lead to their adding some collection information and/or observations that otherwise might never be noted and passed along.

If we know more than just a paragraph worth about a species' biology the introduction to the species can include anything. A strange or curious aspect of their biology , a small paragraph that provides a meaningful overview of what is known, or whatever you feel is appropriate to present as a means of an interesting or enticing entry into what this species is

Additional biological information can be added to other sections of the page under appropriate headings. This makes it easier for future visitors to the page to be able to find specific kinds of information they might be seeking.

How to Edit the Introduction

"An introductory paragraph about this species should be placed here. " is placed on the page using a template. If you go to the edit page of any named page you will find this template on the second line:

{{Italic title}}
{{Species page intro}}
|name = ''Paraparatrechina oceanica''
|regnum = [[Animal]]ia
|phylum = [[Arthropod]]a
|classis = [[Insect]]a
|ordo = [[Hymenoptera]]
|familia = [[Formicidae]]
|subfamilia = [[Formicinae]]
|tribus = [[Plagiolepidini]]
|genus = ''[[Paraparatrechina]]''
|species = '''''P. oceanica'''''
|binomial = ''Paraparatrechina oceanica''
|binomial_authority = (Mann, 1921)

This taxon was described from Fiji Is.

To replace the place holder with actual introductory text first remove the template by removing the template reference {{Species page intro}}. Then add the new introductory text after the closing double brackets of the taxobox and just before the Identification heading (shown on the edit page as ==Identification==). Whatever text you include in this position on the page will show up at the top of the species page.


Adding new headings is simple: MediaWiki Headings Help. It seemed it might be helpful to develop a suggested set of headings and these are found on this page. Do feel free to create your own headings if the kind of information you want to add lends itself to a set of headings that you develop on your own. At this stage of the life of the Antwiki, we are just getting started on building species pages and populating them with information.

The addition of new headings helps to organize content on the page and, with each heading added, automatically adds a linked entry to the table of contents at the top of the page.

Introductory Paragraph

Removing "An introductory paragraph about this species should be placed here."



Type information can be broken down into a number of headings.

You can easily indicate the museum where types are know to be, or stated to be, held by including a link using the museum collections' abbreviation. See the Ant Collections help page for more about this topic.


Removing the Stub Notice