The need to integrate experts, web-based tools and communities to create a truly global biological information system for butterflies

<p>Since 1998 several projects and partnerships, such as GloBIS/GART and Taxome, and individual efforts from several academic or enthusiastic lepidopterologists, have attempted to compile available biological information on all butterfly families in web-plattforms. They provide detailed taxonomic and basic biological information, but most of them depend on the contributions of few experts and are either static or sporadically updated. Broad-scope platforms like Wikipedia and Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) have also assembled valuable information on taxonomy and systematics, conservation, ecology, and other useful topics. They tend to be more dynamic due to the contributions of several projects and enthusiastic users, and provide technical support and several web services and tools for interaction and editing, but have drawn less attention from experts, thus great amounts of information remain unvetted or show geographical and taxonomic bias of the contributors. We searched for 17398 species names in selected specialized and broad scope resources, and found more than 100000 BHL pages, 35000 EOL text data objects, 32000 wikipedia articles in 9 languages, 2094000 GBIF records, and 22000 hostplant records in HOSTS database. Wikipedia and Savelas’ page have almost complete coverage of species, while EOL and BHL included around half of the species, GBIF 39% and HOSTS just 19.9 %. All sources, except HOSTS, include all subfamilies and similar proportion of species per subfamily. Papilionidae and Pieridae have better coverage and content quantity in BHL, Wikipedia and GBIF, but do not differ substantially from other families in EOL. Few species accumulate large content, while half of the species is either not included or has less than 10 pages, data objects or records.</p> <p>Integration of several sources and a more profound collaboration between entomological and technical experts and common users is needed to improve current taxonomical and geographical coverage and the incorporation of additional detailed information.</p> <p>This poster was presented at the <em><strong>7th International Conference on the Biology of Butterflies</strong></em>, in Turku, Finland, 11-14 August 2014.</p> <p>This work was supported by a <em><strong>2013 EOL Rubenstein Research Fellowship Award</strong></em>.</p> <p> </p>