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October 28, 2014 – ITIS Updates Dormice and Boas of the World

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 itiswebmaster@itis.gov.


September 4, 2014 – ITIS Updates Turtles and Bats of the World

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 itiswebmaster@itis.gov.


August 11, 2014 – Support for 7 Kingdoms Added to ITIS

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 itiswebmaster@itis.gov.


June 11, 2013 – New Taxon Compare Tool

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.


May 17, 2013 – New ITIS Database Formats

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.


February 20, 2013 – ITIS Web Service Update Adds JSON-P!

We have updated the ITIS Web Services again, this time to fix some minor bugs and add more new features. Chief among these are:

  • A bug that prevented the service from returning a TSN with the results of Search for Scientific Name has been fixed.
  • The ITIS services now include the Author name anywhere a Scientific Name is returned.
  • The JSON output service has been enhanced to support JSON-P calls.

The JSON service provides access to all the Web Service APIs, returning data in JSON format. JSON-P wraps the data in a JavaScript function to make usage even easier and safer for cross-domain access. Even better, you can specify the JavaScript function name when you make the Web Service call, so the result can be customized to what makes sense to you.

For details about using the JSON and JSON-P calls, see the Web Service Documentation.


January 31, 2013 – ITIS Databse Gets New Columns

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:

  • Taxonomic_units.complete_name – This is the complete scientific name for this TSN. It consists of all the unit name and unit indicator parts combined in the correct order. Complete_name can be helpful when searching for taxa by scientific name.
  • Taxonomic_units.name_usage – This is a duplicate of the current "usage" column. We are moving to the name usage terminology because it is more descriptive of the column's content and because usage is a SQL reserved word, which sometimes causes issues with database code. Note that the "usage" column is deprecated and will be removed in the future.
  • Taxon_authors_lkp.short_author – This is a duplicate of the author name column with certain punctuation removed. It is helpful when you are searching for an author whose name contains a different punctuation for different taxon names. The punctuation characters removed are parenthesis, commas and periods.
  • Hierarchy.TSN – This new column in the Hierarchy table gives the TSN for the hierarchy entry.
  • Hierarchy.Parent_TSN – This new column in the Hierarchy table gives the Parent TSN for the hierarchy entry.
  • Hierarchy.level – The level column gives the distance down the hierarchy from the kingdom. For example, TSN 51 – Schizomycetes – which is a Monera Class, has a level of 3.
  • Hierarchy.ChildrenCount - This new column shows how many total children a particular TSN has, from its direct children to the bottom of the hierarchy.
All these columns have been added to the end of the affected tables, so positional access to the original columns will still work. This could change and you should consider accessing data using the column names in the future.

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.


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