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Data storage for Who is Who blog post
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Data and R script for "Who is Who? Matching taxonomic names" blog post

If you have ever used more than one database describing information for a list of species, you probably have struggled with the “joys” of finding the right name matches. I work mostly with mammalian databases (I have compiled a list of many of these useful resources here and despite being generally well-know species I always run into problems when matching names. There are reputable taxonomic lists like Wilson and Reeder’s ( but this was published in 2005 and new species have been discovered and some names revised, so not all sources use the same names. Particularly, I often want to match names to IUCN Red List data ( and their taxonomic list changes regularly. I think their goal is to be up-to-date rather than being taxonomically precise… So after many wasted hours matching databases, often with manual searches, I decided to make a R script with the help of Luis Verde Arregoitia ( to make the process as automated as possible. We are both sharing the code in our blogs in case it is useful for others too. The script shows how to match the IUCN Red List status data with a species-level database. Here as an example we use the diet database EltonTraits ( as an example, but the script could be modified relatively easy to match other databases. An R Markdown script is also available here.

March 2017 UPDATE: Depending on when you download your data names from the IUCN status data and the IUCN spatial data may not match. This means a matched taxonomy to status may not be good for the distribution range areas. Just something else to keep in mind.

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