HandWiki:Automated taxobox system/taxonomy templates

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Taxonomy templates

Taxobox templates

This page provides information about "taxonomy templates" – templates whose names are of the form Template:Taxonomy/taxon. These act as a "database", storing information about taxa and their taxonomic relationships.

There's usually someone to help at Wikipedia talk:Automated taxobox system if you have any questions.

Title conventions

The title of a taxonomy template is always of the form "Template:Taxonomy/taxon-name or, much less commonly, "Template:Taxonomy/taxon-name/qualifier1", "Template:Taxonomy/taxon-name/qualifier1/qualifier2", etc. The taxon-name part may occasionally need to include disambiguation (typically if an animal and a plant have the same taxon name). Examples are:

The parent parameter in the taxonomy template of every child taxon must match the part of the template name after "Taxonomy/", so it is vital to adhere to the naming conventions to make the taxonomy templates join up. Thus to link to the taxon described in Template:Taxonomy/Kinorhyncha/stem-group put |parent=Kinorhyncha/stem-group in the templates for all child taxa.


  • Use the scientific rather than the English name. For example, Template:Taxonomy/Ursidae instead of "Template:/Taxonomy/Bear". The only exceptions are clades with no clear scientific name.
  • If two taxa have the same name, use disambiguating parentheses as described at Wikipedia:Disambiguation. Typical usage of the word Pterodon in a biological context is almost always about the legume, so Template:Taxonomy/Pterodon describes that genus while the creodont Pterodon is at Template:Taxonomy/Pterodon (mammal).
  • It is not normally necessary to create taxonomy templates for species or lower ranks, other than for viruses. {{Speciesbox}}, {{Subspeciesbox}} and {{Infraspeciesbox}} pick up taxonomic information from the taxonomy template for the genus. The taxobox in the article Acer douglasense shows how to use the |parent= parameter in {{Speciesbox}} to over-ride the otherwise automatic use of the genus as the parent taxon, and so include a sub-generic rank in the taxonomic hierarchy. Virus species don't have binomial names from which the genus can be deduced, and need special treatment.
  • For animal (ICZN) subgenus names, the title should be of the form "Template:Taxonomy/Genus (Subgenus)". For example, Template:Taxonomy/Mus (Coelomys). For plant (ICNafp) subgenus names, the style "Template:Taxonomy/Genus subg. Subgenus" is used. (The bare subgenus name should not be used, because then the taxonomy template for the nominate subgenus, such Mus (Mus) or Banksia subg. Banksia, cannot be distinguished from the taxonomy template for the genus.)
  • Connecting terms should be used for ICNafp names at other ranks below genus, e.g. Template:Taxonomy/Banksia sect. Banksia.

Format of a taxonomy template

Taxonomy templates should all be based on the following format, although many of the parameters may be omitted.[1] Taxonomy templates should not be redirected; see § same_as.

{{Don't edit this line {{{machine code|}}
|same_as =
|parent =
|rank =
|link =
|extinct =
|always_display =
|refs =

Each of the parameters is discussed below.


  • |parent=parent-taxon

This parameter links the taxonomy template to its parent taxonomy template, i.e. to "Template:Taxonomy/parent-taxon".

In most cases, enter just the scientific name of the parent taxon (in plain text, first letter only in capitals), e.g. Fungi, Cephalopoda, since the parent taxonomy template will be named correspondingly, e.g. Template:Taxonomy/Fungi, Template:Taxonomy/Cephalopoda.

One "problem case" is when the same taxon name has been used under different nomenclature codes, e.g. Leucoptera (plant) and Leucoptera (moth). The parent then has to be declared with the disambiguating term, e.g. as |parent=Leucoptera (moth) with the corresponding taxonomy template at "Template:Taxonomy/Leucoptera (moth)".

The parent taxon's "Template:Taxonomy/" page will be consulted to generate the next row up in the taxobox.

For unusual cases, such as skipping levels, stem-groups or questionable assignments, see Advanced features.


  • |rank=rank-of-taxon

This parameter gives the rank of the taxon. The value must be lowercase and latinized, e.g. subfamilia not subfamily.

If it is not a Linnean rank or an "extra" Linnean rank, specify cladus or clade, total group, stem group, or informal group. If none of those apply, set the rank to unranked. See #Title conventions above for conventions used for stem groups, etc.

Formal ranks in the taxonomic hierarchy shown in a taxobox should be in descending sequence. In the table shown on the right when viewing a taxonomy template page, ranks that appear to be anomalous are highlighted in red, and when the last in the table cause the template to be placed in Category:Taxonomy templates showing anomalous ranks.

Ranks that are checked are shown in the table below, together with the arbitrary values used to decide whether their sequence is correct. The table is defined in function getRankTable in Module:Autotaxobox; the text used to show the rank in English is defined in {{Anglicise rank}}. Some ranks, such as series, are used differently in different groups of organisms and so cannot be checked. Other ranks that are used differently are given different names in taxonomy templates, although displaying normally. These include:

  • divisio, the botanical equivalent of phylum, and zoodivisio, a rank used in zoology below class
  • grandordo and mirordo, ranks used in zoology by many sources between magnorder and superorder, and grandordo-mb and mirordo-mb, ranks used by McKenna & Bell between superorder and order.

{{Wikipedia:Automated taxobox system/checked ranks}}


  • |link=link-text or |link=link-target|link-text

This parameter determines the taxon name that is displayed in a taxobox (link-text) and which article (link-target) it links to, if this is different. Generally link-text will be the same as the part of the taxonomy template name immediately after "Taxonomy/" and before any following "/". Thus for the genus Acacia, link-text in the link will be "Acacia" (causing the taxobox to contain "Genus: Acacia") and the taxonomy template will be called "Template:Taxonomy/Acacia". In such cases, the preformatted code will enter the name for you automatically.

If the link target (the title of the page about the taxon in question) is different to the text that should appear in the taxobox, specify both, e.g. |link=Spider|Araneae. This prevents links being created to redirects which simply lead back to the article.

If the taxonomy template is disambiguated, like Template:Taxonomy/Abronia (lizard), the link-target is set to the page title, and the link-text to the undisambiguated taxon name, so that it shows up correctly (i.e. undisambiguated) in the taxobox.

Most of the formatting is automated:

  • The displayed link will be italicized if |rank=genus or any other rank that ought to be italicized. (The convention in the English Wikipedia is not to italicize names at ranks above genus, except for viruses.)
  • The system usually correctly formats botanical ranks that contain a part which is not italicized (e.g. Acer sect. Macrantha), but you should check this.
  • To add †, denoting extinction, include the parameter |extinct=yes or |extinct=true. Otherwise delete this parameter altogether.
  • To add a (?) to denote a questionable status, see Advanced features.
  • Normally you should not create a taxonomy template for a species or a lower rank; the taxonomy can be retrieved from the genus's taxonomy template. Use {{Speciesbox}} in the article rather than {{Automatic taxobox}}. If, for example, you feed {{Speciesbox}} |taxon=Quercus robur, it will use Template:Taxonomy/Quercus to generate a taxobox displaying the binomial and "Species: Q. robur".

Note: do not enter square brackets, †, or (normally) italics yourself; the automated taxobox system will do this if it is appropriate for the rank. (E.g. link=Oak|Quercus will automatically be italicized because the rank is genus; link=Animal|Animalia will not.)


  • |extinct=yes

Show a taxon is extinct by adding |extinct=yes or |extinct=true; otherwise remove the parameter altogether or leave it blank. It's not necessary to enter no or false. This will add a † before the taxon's link wherever it appears in taxoboxes.

The system checks for inconsistent values of the parameter; all taxa below an extinct taxon must also be extinct (e.g. there can't be an extinct family with a non-extinct genus).


  • |always_display=yes

If the taxon is a "major rank", e.g. kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus or species, it will always be displayed in its children's taxoboxes, and this parameter is not needed. Otherwise, in special cases only, set |always_display=yes or |always_display=true to force the taxon to be displayed in all taxoboxes in which it appears. (Setting always_display to no or false has no effect on displaying major ranks.)

One immediately preceding rank is displayed by default in an automated taxobox. For example, if a genus has a subfamily as its parent, then the subfamily will be displayed in its taxobox, but not in lower ranks (e.g. taxoboxes for the subfamily's species or subspecies).

If it's important to display a minor rank, the best way is usually to add the parameter |display parents=N to the taxobox. This forces N parent ranks to display rather than 1 (e.g. the subgenus, genus and subfamily in a species taxobox instead of just the genus).

In some cases, a taxon should always display as if it were a "major rank". For instance, Template:Taxonomy/Arthropoda/stem-group replaces "Phylum: Arthropoda" in some taxoboxes; without displaying this rank, the taxobox lacks context. In these cases, any taxon belonging to "Stem-group Arthropoda" will want this rank included in its taxobox, and you can add the line |always_display=yes (or |always_display=true) to Template:Taxonomy/Arthropoda/stem-group.


  • |refs=references to list on this taxonomy page

These references won't show up in the article, but allow future editors to understand why you filled out the template in the way that you did. References should support the rank and parent of the taxon that is the subject of the taxonomy template.

If you wish to include a reference for an authority in an article's automatic taxobox, you need to add the reference to the article itself. You could add it to the article text, or include it in the taxobox as part of |authority=; |parent_authority=, etc.

Technical limitations mean that we can't really automate the occurrence of references. Not all editors would want them in a taxobox; if the same reference were used in the article text, it would show up twice in the reference list; citations should have a consistent format in an article, but this may vary from article to article, whereas a reference from a taxonomy template would always have the same format.

(To prevent references from a "same as" taxon showing up in the display of the taxonomy template, if not appropriate, use |refs=–.)


  • |same_as=taxon-name to copy from

(same as, i.e. without the underscore, can also be used.)

This parameter is most useful in advanced cases, such as variants of "normal" taxa. Thus Template:Taxonomy/Arthropoda/stem-group has |same_as=Arthropoda. All parameter values not explicitly given in the taxonomy template are then copied from the "same as" taxonomy template. It's an error if the "same as" taxonomy template itself has a same_as parameter. See Advanced cases for more information.

Taxonomy templates must not be redirected. Always use a taxonomy template with |same_as= to achieve the effect of a redirect.


No disambiguation

At Template:Taxonomy/Dryopteris:

{{Don't edit this line {{{machine code|}}}
|refs={{citation |author=PPG I |date=2016 |title=A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns |journal=Journal of Systematics and Evolution |volume=54 |issue=6 |pages=563–603 |doi=10.1111/jse.12229}}

The genus article then uses {{Automatic taxobox}} with |taxon=Dryopteris. Species articles use {{Speciesbox}} with parameters like |taxon=Dryopteris carthusiana or |genus=Dryopteris+|species=carthusiana.

Taxonomy template is disambiguated

At Template:Taxonomy/Abronia (lizard):

{{Don't edit this line {{{machine code|}}}
|link=Abronia (lizard)|Abronia
|refs={{ITIS|id=585644|taxon=''Abronia'' Gray, 1838|access-date=2020-11-15}}

The genus article then uses {{Automatic taxobox}} with |taxon=Abronia (lizard); the taxobox will show the link text "Abronia". Species articles use {{Speciesbox}} with parameters like |genus=Abronia (lizard)+|species=campbelli.


  1. Prior to late 2016 – early 2017, some taxonomy templates needed to use text other than "Don't edit this line", e.g. "Taxon variant". Most also included "|{{{1}}}", now removed.