The Names tab on a species page (or a genus page, family page etc. contains information about the name of a species and the Classification tab shows its position in the taxonomic tree, the tree of life.

The Names tab contains:

  • information about the scientific name of the taxon (e.g. species name, genus name, family name etc),
  • what that taxon has also been known as (synonyms),
  • non-scientific (common) names for the taxon, and
  • the identifiers that have been used to label this taxon and the scientific name that it goes under.

The ALA draws taxonomic information from a number of sources, such as the Australian Faunal Directory, the Australian Plant Names Index/Australian Plant Census, the New Zealand Organisms Register and AusFungi. We group that information together for each individual taxon, since the different sources often contain additional information about the taxon, such as where it was described, who placed it at this location on the taxonomic tree, and so on. Each source organisation provides a unique identifier code for the taxon (a taxon identifier).

Where possible, we include links back to the original sources of the information, so that you can see how the original source described things and whether there has been an update. Usually, these links use the taxon identifier to find the correct information in the source data.

The ALA is a consumer of taxonomic data from different sources, so there is often a delay in updating the ALA to the current taxonomy. Usually, when a source organisation makes a significant change to a taxon, e.g. by moving it in the taxonomic tree, a new taxon identifier is created so that users can distinguish between the old and the new information. When the taxon identifier changes, the link back to the source may no longer be valid. This depends on the how the original source data is managed. Some data providers will provide the ALA with a link to the new, current taxon information. Some will not, and in that case your query might return a "not found" error.

The ALA has no control over the source links. If you come across a link to source information that is no longer valid, the best strategy is to use the source organisation's own search system to find the name again.