TOOLS: Avoid an Identity Crisis

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Science  09 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5583, pp. 903
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5583.903e

In the 150 years since its official description, the leopard lizard has been tagged with four additional scientific names. The All Species Toolkit can help you untwist the tangled taxonomy of this North American lizard-eater and some 874,000 other species of animals, plants, and microbes.

The search engine roots through 12 taxonomic storehouses, such as the World Spider Catalog, the Hymenoptera Name Server, and Species2000, a growing database that aims to encompass all known organisms. Searches divulge information such as the species' classification, key references, distribution data, discarded synonyms, lists of subspecies, and sometimes photos. You can also retrieve DNA and protein sequences. Released this spring, the Toolkit is one of the first products of the All Species Foundation, a nonprofit organization that plans to compile a complete inventory of life on Earth within 25 years (Science, 26 October 2001, p. 769).

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