ITIS has just added complete global species datasets of Lampyridae (fireflies, lightning bugs, glow worms) to the ITIS database. These conspicuous beetles are best known for their bioluminescence, which is the emission of light by a living organism. The flash patterns are part of their mating display that help male and females recognize each other. In southeastern Asia many species exhibit a synchronized flashing behavior, where males aggregate to create simultaneous flash patterns. In North America females of some species have a 'femme fatale' mimicry system. The female of one species will mimic the flash pattern of another species, luring males close enough to prey upon them and therefore acquiring defensive chemical compounds from the meal. Not all adult fireflies emit light. Some are diurnal and use chemical pheromones to communicate Fireflies are very susceptible to environmental degradation and are therefore excellent indicators of ecosystem health. Several citizen science projects, including the Vanishing Firefly Project and Firefly Watch, seek to monitor firefly populations in response to urbanization and pollution.
The ITIS Lampyridae update includes 2,250 species (with 127 species occurring in North America) and is one of the few unified world checklists of fireflies since Frank A. McDermott's catalog was published in 1966. The update work was coordinated by Dr. Daniel Perez-Gelabert of the Smithsonian Institution ITIS program and Research Collaborator, Department of Entomology of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Data Development assistance came from Alicia Hodson and Sara Alexander of the Smithsonian Institution ITIS program. Taxonomic guidance was also provided by:
Dr. Lesley A. Ballantyne (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
Please direct any questions you may have to the ITIS team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITIS has added complete global species datasets of Gliridae (dormice) and boas and boa allies (Boidae, Calabariidae, Candoiidae, Charinidae, Erycidae, and Sanziniidae) to the ITIS database. The Gliridae is a family of Old World rodents with 29 species. Like many rodents dormice have acute auditory senses. Researchers recently determined that one species, Muscardinus avellanarius (Linnaeus, 1758), uses ultrasonic vocalizations for social communication. The dormice update follows the chapter on Gliridae in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed. by Mary Ellen Holden (Research Associate Vertebrate Zoology, Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History). Snakes in the family Boidae are of special conservation concern, and one species is an established US invasive. All species in Boidae are listed in Appendix I or II of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and several species are listed as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. International pet trade has placed pressure on many wild populations, hence the listings. The Boa constrictor Linnaeus, 1758 is one of the non-native, giant constrictors established in southern Florida that threaten native species and ecosystems primarily through predation. As a consequence, the U.S. Congress is expected to rule on legislation that would restrict the sale and possession of these large constrictors that are injurious wildlife. The boa update was coordinated by Ted R. Kahn of the Smithsonian Institution ITIS program, and with guidance from Dr. Roy W. McDiarmid, Research Zoologist from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, who is Curator of North American Collections of Herpetology at the National Museum of Natural History. Please direct any questions you may have to the ITIS team at email@example.com.
ITIS has just added complete global species datasets of Testudines (turtles) and Chiroptera (bats) to the ITIS database. The turtles, with just over 330 species are a reptile group with conservation efforts in marine and freshwater environments; numerous turtle species are Threatened, Endangered or Critically Endangered. The turtle update follows the 2014 checklist from the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and with direct guidance from Dr. Roy W. McDiarmid, Research Zoologist from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, who is Curator of North American Collections of Herpetology at the National Museum of Natural History. The update work was coordinated by Ted R. Kahn of the Smithsonian Institution ITIS program. There are approximately 1300 bat species, and some are important pollinators. Bats are the subject of increased conservation efforts, in part due to White-nose Syndrome, a fungus that is killing large numbers of bats in North America - at least 5.7 million since 2006. The bats were updated using Dr. Nancy Simmons' (Curator-in-Charge, Department of Mammalogy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History) chapter on bats in Mammal Species of the World, 3rd ed., and with substantial input from major regional taxonomic works. The update includes new species published as recently as August 2014. The work was coordinated by Sara N. Alexander of the Smithsonian Institution ITIS program with taxonomic guidance given by Dr. Al Gardner, Research Wildlife Biologist from the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and Curator of the National Collection of North American Mammals and Dr. Don Wilson, Curator Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, Division of Mammals. Please direct any questions you may have to the ITIS team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have added support for 7 kingdoms by dividing Monera into Bacteria and Archaea. We have also added support for intermediate ranks in Protozoa (Infrakingdom, Infraphylum, and Parvphylum), and new intermediate ranks in Plantae and Chromista (Infrakingdom, Superdivision, Infradivision, Parvdivision, and Infraclass). In cooperation with the Species2000 Catalogue of Life, this work is being done to support a consensus management hierarchy being developed by a panel of specialists covering global taxa down to the level of orders. Please direct any questions you may have to the ITIS team at email@example.com.
We have updated the ITIS Taxon Compare Tool to a completely new version and have now released it for use. It allows you to compare a list of taxon names to the scientific names in ITIS, producing a list of ITIS data for matching names. The ITIS data includes TSN, Scientific Name, Rank, and Author. This is a complete rewrite of the old tool featuring better performance and more comparison options. You can access the Taxon Compare Tool through the Data Access and Tools menu, or at www.itis.gov/taxmatch.html.
In response to user requests, we have added ITIS database download files in PostgreSql and SQLite database formats. These new files contain the same data as our existing downloads, but formatted for their respective databases. The downloads also contain short Readme files with instructions for getting started with the database download.
ITIS now provides download files for Microsoft SQL Server, Informix, MySql, PostGreSql and SQLite. You provide the database software, and we provide the data. All our database download files are available on our download page at www.itis.gov/downloads
Note: As with all our database downloads, support for these files is limited to download problems and problems with the file format. Due to limited resources, ITIS Staff can't provide support for obtaining, installing or using any of the database applications supported by our file downloads.
We have updated the ITIS Web Services again, this time to fix some minor bugs and add more new features. Chief among these are:
For details about using the JSON and JSON-P calls, see the Web Service Documentation.
We have updated the ITIS Database tables to add a number of new columns. These columns were originally added to make some functionality changes in the ITIS programming, but we feel they are helpful enough to release for everyone's use. The new columns are:
We hope these database updates will be as useful for you as they have been for us.
For full ITIS database downloads, see the ITIS Downloads page.