Help:Naming Species Pages

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Species pages are at the core of Antwiki and the conventions used to name these pages are of considerable importance. The following guidelines should be used when working with these pages.

Warning: This discussion relies on an understanding of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. If you don't understand validity, availability or what to do about a junior primary homonym where there are no available replacement names then you might want to have a look at the Code before digging in too deeply. See ICZN or Wikipedia for an introduction to zoological nomenclature.

A page for every available name

Every name proposed for an ant that meets the requirements of the Code (see ICZN or Wikipedia) should have a page of its own. This includes names that are no longer in use (are no longer valid). Further, each name should have only one primary page, even if the taxon is widespread or if considerable details are known about it. If additional pages are required for a taxon these should be treated as adding to the main taxon page rather than competing with it, and links to these subsidiary pages should be added to the main page. A taxon name alone should never be used for these pages as this name is reserved for the main taxon page. For example, the main page for the common Australian meat ant is Iridomyrmex purpureus while a subsidiary page discussing an aspect of its biology has been named Ritualised fighting in Iridomyrmex purpureus. This makes it clear which page is the main "taxon home page" and which are secondary pages.

Unavailable names (names that do not meet the availability requirements of the Code) that are still considered of importance should not be given individual pages but should be listed on Unavailable Species Names. However, this should be treated as a guideline only and if extensive discussion is required for a given name then a separate pages would be justified.

Species page names

Ideally a species page will be named using only the genus and species without the author or year. This keeps page names as simple as possible. It also means that any species page can be found simply by entering "" in a web browser. If a species moves to a new genus the page name is updated to reflect its new treatment in that the genus name is changed and the gender of the species name updated as required.

For example, when Oligomyrmex was synonymised with Carebara the page formerly named Oligomyrmex acutus was renamed to Carebara acuta. Note that both the genus and species changed (because of the generic transfer and change in gender).

In a more complex case, the page that started as Monomorium heyeri was renamed to Tranopelta heyeri when the species was transfered to Tranopelta and then switched back to Monomorium heyeri when it was synonymised with Tranopelta gilva and became invalid (and thus is based on the available name).

While changing page names in this way adds a bit of maintenance work, it keeps Antwiki pages consistent with names in current use and results in predicable page names.


Homonyms are situations where two separate and distinct species share the same name. It is not possible for both of these to share the same page name as page names must be unique.

In these cases the following guidelines should be followed:

  • If one name is valid and the other invalid, the valid name gets the page named Genus_species while the invalid name uses the page name Genus_species_Author.
  • If both are valid they take the page name Genus_species_Author_Year_page-number (adding Year and page-number only if needed to create unique page names). A disambiguation page is then created with the name Genus_species which links to these homonyms.
  • If both are invalid the each take the page name Genus_species_Author_Year_page-number (adding Year and page-number only if needed to create unique page names) but no disambiguation page is necessary. Note that as these are not valid they use the genus and species as originally published.

Once resolved the naming conventions for valid and invalid names apply and the disambiguation page is deleted.


Valid name with no homonyms. Most species pages will have the form.

Valid name with a junior homonym that has been replaced.

Unresolved primary homonyms.

A note on redirects

A feature of the Mediawiki software, the software that Antwiki is based on, is that it is almost impossible to actually delete content. For example, when a page is renamed ("moved" in wiki-speak) the original page is retained and a pointer is created to the "new" page, which is a copy of the page of being moved. Thus after the move there are two pages, one with the original name (which contains only a redirect) and a new page with a copy of the content from the original page. Why is this relevant? Because it means that if a species is moved to another genus (a new combination is created) and the page moved, a search for the previous combination will find the old page and will automatically redirect to the current and correct page. Pretty cool.