Taxonaut - comparing taxonomies graphically

A new open-source software application based on GBIF Checklist data allows graphical comparative analysis of two or more taxonomies 

GBIF-mediated data resources used : GBIF Checklist Bank
Giraffa camelopardalis

One single or several species of giraffes? Depends on the taxonomic interpretation. This Giraffa camelopardalis was observed by ryber and licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The naming and classification of species is crucial for biodiversity science and relies on consistent grouping of organisms in a hierarchical structure. Taxonomies representing such hierarchies may come from a variety of sources and are not always consistent.

In this paper, winner of the inaugural Ebbe Nielsen Prize in 2002, Nozomi Ytow, presents a new Java-based application, Taxonaut, that allows for easy and user-friendly summarised comparisons of two or more taxonomies. Relying on GBIF Checklist Bank for taxonomic data, Taxonaut takes a scientific name and returns the taxonomies in which that particular taxon is included. From the results, users are able to select specific taxonomies and compare name usage in a hierarchical structure with matching taxa aligned for user-friendly comparison. Searches can also be expanded to include basionyms and synonyms, if relevant.

Taxonaut is novel methodological approach to comparative taxonomy analysis that allows non-expert users to assess and compare nomenclatural data in a fast and easy manner.

Ytow N (2016) Taxonaut: an application software for comparative display of multiple taxonomies with a use case of GBIF Species API. Biodiversity Data Journal. Pensoft Publishers 4: e9787. Available at:

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  • Japan
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  • Taxonomy