Some species in the ALA are linked to the wrong part of the taxonomic hierarchy and are presented with an incorrect classification. For example:

  • The summary of specimen records shared by the Australian Museum Malacology Collection shows a breakdown of the taxonomic groups for which records are available. The collection holds specimens of molluscs (including chitons, clams, mussels, snails, sea slugs, tusk shells, octopus and squid), but this breakdown includes small numbers of records associated with other groups such as insects (Insecta) and flowering plants (Liliopsidae and Magnoliopsida).
  • The overview of specimen and observation records for the order Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) includes small numbers of records from data sets for fish, molluscs and plankton, such as the NODC WOD01 Plankton Database and the Academy of Natural Sciences OBIS Mollusc Database.

As there is no source for a complete listing of all species names, the ALA uses automated tools like the Interim Register of Marine and Non-marine Genera (IRMNG) to construct a best-estimate classification tree. This often creates a tentative association with the appropriate genus, but the association may be incorrect as:

  • taxonomists can use a genus name under the animal code even if there is already a plant genus with the same name, or vice versa. If the ALA only knows about one of these genera, the association may be mistaken.
  • mistakes are sometimes made by taxonomists who may unknowingly use a genus name that has already been used. This invalid name will be replaced, but it may take a long time.