Unresolved synonyms

Why are some synonyms listed as “Alternative Names” of the accepted name, while others are listed as their own pages, but labelled as “Unresolved name”?

For example, within the genus Zygoballus:

  • Zygoballus bettini is correctly listed as an “Alternative Names” of Zygoballus rufipes and doesn’t have its own page.
  • Zygoballus citri is listed as an “Unresolved name”, but should be a synonym of Rhene citri
  • Zygoballus narmadaensis is listed as an “Unresolved name”, but should be a synonym of Bianor narmadaensis
  • Zygoballus pashanensis is listed as an “Unresolved name”, but should be a synonym of Bianor pashanensis

We treat names as unresolved whenever we are not sure if they should be preferred names (accepted/valid) or alternative names (synonyms, misspellings, etc.) As our names infrastructure matures and we incorporate more synonym mappings, there will be fewer unresolved names as more names are recognized as preferred or alternative names.

Is there any way that I can help with that? For spiders, the World Spider Catalog (https://wsc.nmbe.ch/) is the most authoritative and up-to-date source for accepted names (in case that helps).

We are getting the World Spider Catalog data through Catalogue of Life, and it looks like they are getting updated regularly. So any updates made there will eventually get to us. It just takes a little time.

When you say “eventually get to us”, are you sure about that? These synonyms were established in 2010 and updated in the World Spider Catalog the same year. They should have been in the Catalog of Life by 2011 or 2012 at the latest. I think the problem is that the Catalog of Life rarely lists any synonyms for spiders, despite the fact that they are ostensibly pulling the information from the World Spider Catalog (which has all the synonyms). I think some manual curation may be needed on our end. Speaking of which, I used to be a curator on here, but I don’t seem to be able to do any curating functions anymore.

@schulzk - Any thoughts on the comments above?

Sorry, I didn’t see your earlier message come through. I checked on the WSC synonyms in the COL data export. There are currently 7,110 synonym records credited to WSC 2019. The WSC web site only provides statistics for their accepted species, so I don’t know how many there should be. But I suspect that the number should be much higher. The Zygoballus synonyms you provide above are still not in the most recent COL data export. I’m not sure why they may not be getting or using all the WSC synonyms. I’ll have to check into that.

Curator tools are not yet implemented in EOL V3. EOL staff is down to a skeleton crew, so things are moving forward at a slower pace than we would like. However, editing scientific names, including synonyms, was never part of the curator toolset, so that wouldn’t help us in this particular case. We’ll have to figure out an alternative solution. I’ll see what I can find out about the COL situation.

@schulzk - Yeah, there’s definitely something wrong. For example, Zygoballus rufipes has 3 synonyms, 2 of which were declared synonyms in 1903, but EOL only lists the synonym declared in 1980. Phidippus audax has 36 synonyms (according to WSC), but EOL only lists 8. I would expect the total number of spider synonyms to be in the tens of thousands.

I found out some more information. The Catalogue of Life spider data is missing subjective synonyms from before the 1950s and objective synonyms from before 2014. Does EoL strictly mirror the CoL taxonomy data, or are there ever local overrides/augmentation?