Integrated Taxonomic Information System

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species.[1] ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the US federal government, involving several US federal agencies, and has now become an international body, with Canadian and Mexican government agencies participating. The database draws from a large community of taxonomic experts. Primary content staff are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and IT services are provided by a US Geological Survey facility in Denver. The primary focus of ITIS is North American species, but many biological groups exist worldwide and ITIS collaborates with other agencies to increase its global coverage.[2]

ITIS logo

Reference database

ITIS provides an automated reference database of scientific and common names for species. As of May 2016, it contains over 839,000 scientific names, synonyms, and common names for terrestrial, marine, and freshwater taxa from all biological kingdoms (animals, plants, fungi, and microbes). While the system does focus on North American species at minimum, it also includes many species not found in North America, especially among birds, fishes, amphibians, mammals, bacteria, many reptiles, several plant groups, and many invertebrate animal groups.[3][4] Data presented in ITIS are considered public information, and may be freely distributed and copied, though appropriate citation[5] is requested. ITIS is frequently used as the de facto source of taxonomic data in biodiversity informatics projects.[6]

ITIS couples each scientific name with a stable and unique taxonomic serial number (TSN) as the "common denominator" for accessing information on such issues as invasive species, declining amphibians, migratory birds, fishery stocks, pollinators, agricultural pests, and emerging diseases. It presents the names in a standard classification that contains author, date, distributional, and bibliographic information related to the names. In addition, common names are available through ITIS in the major official languages of the Americas (English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese).

Catalogue of Life

ITIS and its international partner, Species 2000, cooperate to annually produce the Catalogue of Life, a checklist and index of the world's species. The Catalogue of Life's goal was to complete the global checklist of 1.9 million species by 2011.[7] As of May 2012, the Catalogue of Life has reached 1.4 million species—a major milestone in its quest to complete the first up-to-date comprehensive catalogue of all living organisms.[8][9]

ITIS and the Catalogue of Life are core to the Encyclopedia of Life initiative announced May 2007.[10] EOL will be built largely on various Creative Commons licenses.[11]

Legacy database

Of the ~714,000 (May 2016) scientific names in the current database, approximately 210,000 were inherited from the database formerly maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).[4][12] The newer material has been checked to higher standards of taxonomic credibility, and over half of the original material has been checked and improved to the same standard.[4]


Biological taxonomy is not fixed, and opinions about the correct status of taxa at all levels, and their correct placement, are constantly revised as a result of new research. Many aspects of classification remain a matter of scientific judgment. The ITIS database is updated to take account of new research as it becomes available.

Records within ITIS include information about how far it has been possible to check and verify them. Its information should be checked against other sources where these are available, and against the primary research scientific literature where possible.

Member agencies

See also


  1. ^ "ITIS Memorandum of Understanding". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
  2. ^ Coote, Lonny D; et al. (February 2008). "Monitoring International Wildlife Trade with Coded Species Data". Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00857.x. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  3. ^ "Integrated Taxonomic Information System". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Archived from the original on 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  4. ^ a b c "Data Development History and Data Quality". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2016-05-30.
  5. ^ "ITIS Citation". Retrieved 2012-05-09.
  6. ^ Page, D. M. R. (2005-04-09). "A Taxonomic Search Engine: Federating taxonomic databases using web services". BMC Bioinformatics. doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-48. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  7. ^ Guralnick, R. P.; et al. (September 2007). "Towards a collaborative, global infrastructure for biodiversity assessment". Ecology Letters. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01063.x. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  8. ^ "One Million Species Catalogue of Life launch" (Press release). University of Reading. 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  9. ^ "About the Catalog of Life: 2012 Annual Checklist". Catalog of Life. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Leading Scientists Announce Creation Of Encyclopedia Of Life". Science Daily. May 9, 2007. Adapted from a Harvard University news release.
  11. ^ "Terms of Use - Encyclopedia of Life". Encyclopedia of Life.
  12. ^ "NODC Taxonomic Code". National Oceanographic Data Center. Retrieved 2008-04-04.

External links


An anchovy is a small, common forage fish of the family Engraulidae. Most species are found in marine waters, but several will enter brackish water and some in South America are restricted to fresh water.The more than 140 species are placed in 17 genera; they are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, and in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Anchovies are usually classified as oily fish.


Batrachylidae is a family of frogs from southern South America (Argentina and Chile). Before being recognized as a family, Batrachylidae was included as a subfamily (Batrachylinae) in the Ceratophryidae family; this is the taxonomy still suggested by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).


Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia.

Catalogue of Life

The Catalogue of Life is an online database that provides the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative index of known species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms. It was created in 2001 as a partnership between the global Species 2000 and the American Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The Catalogue interface is available in twelve languages and is used by research scientists, citizen scientists, educators, and policy makers. The Catalogue is also used by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Barcode of Life Data System, Encyclopedia of Life, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The Catalogue currently compiles data from 168 peer-reviewed taxonomic databases, that are maintained by specialist institutions around the world. As of 2018, the Catalogue lists 1,744,204 of the world's 2.2m extant species known to taxonomists on the planet at present time.


Clupea is genus of planktivorous bony fish belonging to the family Clupeidae, commonly known as herrings. They are found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and the Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) may each be divided into subspecies. Herrings are forage fish moving in vast schools, coming in spring to the shores of Europe and America, where they form important commercial fisheries.


Cod is the common name for the demersal fish genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae. Cod is also used as part of the common name for a number of other fish species, and some species suggested to belong to genus Gadus are not called cod (the Alaska pollock).

The two most common species of cod are the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic, and the Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific. Gadus morhua was named by Linnaeus in 1758. (However, G. morhua callarias, a low-salinity, nonmigratory race restricted to parts of the Baltic, was originally described as Gadus callarias by Linnaeus.)

Cod is popular as a food with a mild flavour and a dense, flaky, white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Young Atlantic cod or haddock prepared in strips for cooking is called scrod. In the United Kingdom, Atlantic cod is one of the most common ingredients in fish and chips, along with haddock and plaice.


Ctenosaura is a lizard genus commonly known as spinytail iguanas or Ctenosaurs. The genus is part of the large lizard family, Iguanidae and is native to Mexico and Central America. The name is derived from two Greek words: ctenos (κτενός), meaning "comb" (referring to the comblike spines on the lizard's back and tail), and saura (σαύρα), meaning "lizard".


Ectobiidae (formerly Blattellidae)[1][2] is a family of the order Blattodea (cockroaches). This family contains many of the smaller common household pest cockroaches, among others. They are sometimes called wood cockroaches. A few notable species include:

Asian cockroach Blattella asahinai

Brown-banded cockroach Supella longipalpa

European native cockroaches - genera including Ectobius, Capraiellus, Phyllodromica and Planuncus

Fulvous wood cockroach Parcoblatta fulvescens

German cockroach Blattella germanica

Pennsylvania woods cockroach Parcoblatta pennsylvanica

Small yellow cockroach Cariblatta lutea

Virginia wood cockroach Parcoblatta virginica

Freshwater whitefish

The freshwater whitefish are fishes of the subfamily Coregoninae, which contains whitefishes (both freshwater and anadromous) and ciscoes, and is one of three subfamilies in the salmon family Salmonidae. Apart from the subfamily Coregoninae, the family Salmonidae includes the salmon, trout, and char species of the subfamily Salmoninae, and grayling species of the subfamily Thymallinae. Freshwater whitefish are distributed mainly in relatively cool waters throughout the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

The Coregoninae subfamily consists of three nominal genera:

Coregonus Linnaeus, 1758 – whitefishes and ciscoes, which according to some authors number more than 60 species. There are differing opinions on the classification of some species within the genus and the overall number of species. Some species in Arctic regions of Asia and North America forage in marine waters.

Prosopium Jordan, 1878 – round whitefishes, which includes six species, three of which occur only in a single lake.

Stenodus Richardson, 1836 – inconnus, which includes two species, sometimes considered a single species with two subspecies. Phylogenetically, Stenodus is not distinct from Coregonus.

Giant skipper

The giant skippers are butterflies in the disputed subfamily Megathyminae, which is part of the skipper family. Some authorities treat this as a distinct and separate subfamily, but more modern classifications tend to place them within the subfamily Hesperiinae. However, some works, such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, still treat is as a valid subfamily. The giant skippers include two tribes, Aegialini and Megathymini. There are three genera and about eighteen species in this subfamily. These butterflies typically live in the southwest United States and Mexico in desert areas.The giant skippers are larger than the other members of the family Hesperiidae, but are medium-sized butterflies with thick bodies. They tend to be brown with yellow markings. The antennae are unhooked and some species even possess a short apiculus. Long hairlike scales are present on the upperwings of males. Their flight is fast and rapid. Males are territorial and tend to perch on low vegetation. Adults do not derive sustenance from flowers and rarely feed. Males do visit wet sand in order to drink.The eggs of members of the genera Megathymus and Stallingsia are glued to leaves, while the eggs of Agathymus are dumped into host plant clumps. The caterpillars of the giant skippers bury themselves into the leaf or stem of a plant and feed from within the silk-lined tunnels they create. Pupae are formed in these tunnels.


The Ginkgoaceae is a family of gymnosperms which appeared during the Mesozoic Era, of which the only extant representative is Ginkgo biloba, which is for this reason sometimes regarded as a living fossil. Formerly, however, there were several other genera, and forests of ginkgo existed. Because leaves can take such diverse forms within a single species, these are a poor measure of diversity, although differing structures of wood point to the existence of diverse ginkgo forests in ancient times.


Herring are forage fish, mostly belonging to the family Clupeidae.

Herring often move in large schools around fishing banks and near the coast. The most abundant and commercially important species belong to the genus Clupea, found particularly in shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans, including the Baltic Sea, as well as off the west coast of South America. Three species of Clupea are recognised, and provide about 90% of all herrings captured in fisheries. Most abundant of all is the Atlantic herring, providing over half of all herring capture. Fishes called herring are also found in the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, and Bay of Bengal.

Herring played a pivotal role in the history of marine fisheries in Europe, and early in the 20th century, their study was fundamental to the evolution of fisheries science. These oily fish also have a long history as an important food fish, and are often salted, smoked, or pickled.


"Sardine" and "pilchard" are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish in the herring family Clupeidae. The term "sardine" was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.The terms "sardine" and "pilchard” are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom's Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards. One criterion suggests fish shorter in length than 15 cm (6 in) are sardines, and larger fish are pilchards.The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; FishBase, a comprehensive database of information about fish, calls at least six species "pilchard", over a dozen just "sardine", and many more with the two basic names qualified by various adjectives.


Sebastidae is a family of marine fish in the order Scorpaeniformes. Their common names include rockfishes, rock perches, ocean perches, sea perches, thornyheads, scorpionfishes, sea ruffes and rockcods. Despite the latter name, they are not closely related to the cods in the genus Gadus, nor the rock cod, Lotella rhacina.

Not all authorities recognise this family as distinct from Scorpaenidae. FishBase, a finfish database generated by a consortium of academic institutions, does, but the United States Federal government's Integrated Taxonomic Information System does not.A substantial majority of the approximately 130 species in this family belong to genus Sebastes, including the rose fish (Sebastes norvegicus). They are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. More than 100 of the species are viviparous, and these occur mainly in the North Pacific. All species have venom glands in their dorsal, anal, and pelvic spines.

Slipper lobster

Slipper lobsters are a family (Scyllaridae) of about 90 species of achelate crustaceans, in the Decapoda Reptantia, found in all warm oceans and seas. They are not true lobsters, but are more closely related to spiny lobsters and furry lobsters. Slipper lobsters are instantly recognisable by their enlarged antennae, which project forward from the head as wide plates. All the species are edible, and some, such as the Moreton Bay bug and the Balmain bug (Ibacus peronii) are of commercial importance.

Snipe eel

Snipe eels are a family, Nemichthyidae, of eels that consists of nine species in three genera. They are pelagic fishes, found in every ocean, mostly at depths of 300–600 m but sometimes as deep as 4000 m. Depending on the species, adults may reach 1–2 m (39–79 in) in length, yet they weigh only 80-400 g (a few ounces to a pound). They are distinguished by their very slender jaws that separate toward the tips as the upper jaw curves upward. The jaws appear similar to the beak of the bird called the snipe. Snipe eels are oviparous, and the juveniles, called Leptocephali (meaning small head), do not resemble the adults but have oval, leaf-shaped and transparent bodies. Different species of snipe eel have different shapes, sizes and colors. The similarly named bobtail snipe eel is actually in a different family and represented by two species, the black Cyema atrum and the bright red Neocyema erythrosoma.

Species 2000

Species 2000 is a federation of database organizations across the world that compiles the Catalogue of Life, a comprehensive checklist of the world's species, in partnership with the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). The creation of Species 2000 was initiated by Frank Bisby and colleagues at the University of Reading in the UK in 1997 and the Catalogue of Life was first published in 2001. While administrators and member organizations of Species 2000 are located across the world, the secretariat is located at the University of Reading.

Temminck's red colobus

Temminck's red colobus (Piliocolobus basius temminckii) is a type of red colobus monkey from Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and the Gambia. It has historically been regarded as a subspecies of the western red colobus (Piliocolobus badius), and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System maintains this classification, but many recent taxonomies classify it as a separate species (Piliocolobus temminckii).

Temminck's red colobus generally lives in dry deciduous and gallery forests. In Senegal it also lives in savannah. No other red colobus lives in savannah. The use of savannah and open areas may be a recent adaptation to deforestation, since researchers in the 1970s always found Temminck's red colobus in tall, dense forest. Temminck's red colobus living in savannahs often associate with green monkeys, and sometimes also associate with patas monkeys and bushbucks for defense against predators. Temminck's red colobus differs from the Western red colobus in that the Western red colobus lives in rainforest rather than dry forest and savannah, which may explain differences in behavior.The majority of its diet consists of fruit and leaves. Seeds, flowers, buds, bark and nuts account for most of the rest of the diet.Temminck's red colobus is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Primary threats include deforestation and hunting.

The Global Lepidoptera Names Index

The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex) is a searchable database maintained by the Department of Entomology at the Natural History Museum, London.

It is based on card indices and scanned journals, nomenclatural catalogues and the Zoological Record. It contains the majority of world's Lepidoptera names published up until 1981 and for some groups is up to date.The Global Lepidoptera Names Index or LepIndex allows anyone free internet access to:

the zoological authority who named a butterfly or moth species

where the original description was published

status of the name (valid name or synonym)It is the main source of Lepidoptera names in the Integrated Taxonomic Information System and Catalogue of Life.

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