Phasmida Species File (Version 5.0/5.0)
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About the Phasmida Species File


This page covers the purpose, history, current status, and future plans for the database and website.  Statistics about the quantity of data, information about participating in work on the database, and the website and database editorial policy are on separate pages.

This website and database use Species File Software.  Information about the design and use of SFS may be found on a separate website.

Purpose

A distinctive feature of the database is the emphasis on providing information needed by the working taxonomist and systematist.  Taxonomy is an essential foundation for work in biology, and the database should be a resource for all scientists working on Phasmida.  Many records of rearing these insects are also included.  This is a very popular 'hobby,' particularly widespread in Europe (See The Phasmid Study Group website http://phasmid-study-group.org).  There is also material of more general interest such as photographs.  Future development will expand these areas and others.

The database marks an important departure from past history of work on Phasmida, as specialists have had to rely largely on Kirby, 1904.  Catalogues of type material, written mainly by Brock and Zompro, have added to our knowledge.  The compexity of the task has grown with the increasing number of taxa and references.  Computer technology now permits continuous enhancement.  Sponsorship by the Orthopterists' Society also facilitates continuity from one person to another without the huge task just to reach the level acheived by the previous person.

History

Daniel Otte developed the initial version of the phasmids database in the early 2000's and linked with Paul Brock, who provided up to date classification and type specimen data.  Much of the data came from the Zoological Record.  The authors soon realized that the mass of data was sufficient that it should be published and made available to others.  The Phasmida Species File was released as a CD in 2003 and has proved to be popular amongst enthusiasts.  Bound copies were not distributed, unlike with most other Orthoptera Species Files.  As pointed out by Zompro (2004), this means that Otte and Brock is unavailable for the purposes of zoological nomenclature, hence type species designations and other changes made in Otte and Brock are unpublished.  However, Otte & Brock did publish the updated data in a book (2005) and all these entries are cited in the Phasmida Species File.

David Eades recognized the value of the Orthoptera Species File Online and saw potential for further development.  He communicated with Otte and Naskrecki and submitted a proposal to the Orthopterists' Society that formed the basis for version two of the Orthoptera Species File Online, available since 2001.  This Phasmida work is based on Otte and Brock’s CD (2003) and numerous updated records and corrections, which formed Otte & Brock (2005).  The Orthopterists’ Society provided a grant for Paul Brock to visit the U.S.A. in July-August 2005, where David Eades and his team worked marvels to transfer the data to a format equivalent of Orthoptera Species File Version 2.  This coincides with the Society’s aim of using the software for other groups, especially other orthopteroid orders.  As mentioned above, Dan Otte’s initiative has resulted in this major project coming to fruition, amazingly the first catalogue on Phasmida for about a century, i.e. since Kirby, 1904.

Status of development as of October 2006

Data input:  Information from Otte and Brock (2003) has been imported and updated.  Additional data from other sources (Zoological Record, reprints, communications from phasmid specialists) is complete through 2004.

Software development:  The read-only user interface has been fully implemented.  The interface for editing the basic data is complete for users over the Internet as well as for users on the local network.  The administrative interface used to test the data integrity and facilitate programming work is complete except for the usual wish list of nice but not necessary enhancements.  A very limited glossary is in place.

Continuing development

Priority items:

Long range dreams:


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