Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods/Style suggestions

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The hints presented on this page are merely suggestions on how to best create a new page for the arthropods project. Read them, but write the pages the way you like. If you disagree with suggestions proposed here, please discuss this on the Talk page.

Names and titles[edit]

In cases where common names are well-known and reasonably unique, they should be used for article titles. Scientific names should be used otherwise. Note the following guidelines in using scientific names:

  • Names of genera are always italicized and capitalized— Drosophila, Homarus, Limulus.
  • Specific epithets are always italicized and preceded by the name of the genus or an abbreviation of it— Limulus polyphemus or L. polyphemus, but never plain polyphemus, since such identifiers need not be unique (e.g. Gopherus polyphemus, Antheraea polyphemus). They are never capitalized.
  • Names of higher taxa are capitalized but not italicized— Limulidae, Orthoptera, Crustacea.

In the orders Odonata and Lepidoptera, common names may be capitalised; other common names should be in lower case.

In cases where a group only contains a single subgroup, the two should not be separated. If there is no common name, the article should generally go under the scientific name that is most often used when discussing the group, or under the scientific name of lowest rank if there is no clear preference. However, for a genus that contains a single species, the genus name should be used since it is included in the binomial. For instance the order Amphionidacea, which has the single species Amphionides reynaudii, is discussed at Amphionides.

Not all species need have separate articles. The simplest (and probably best) rule is to have no rule: if you have the time and energy to write up some particularly obscure subspecies that most people have never even heard of, go for it! As a general guideline, though, it's best to combine separate species into a single entry whenever it seems likely that there won't be enough text to make more than a short, unsatisfying stub otherwise. If the entry grows large enough to deserve splitting, that can always be done later.

A useful heuristic is to create articles in a "downwards" order, that is, family articles first, then genera, then species. If you find that information is getting thin, or the family/genus is really small, just leave the species info inline in the family or genus article, don't try to force it down any further.

Article contents[edit]

The following items are desirable for articles of all levels, although the detail will vary depending on several factors. These items do not need to be separated into distinct sections; text should flow in continuous prose so far as possible. The order this information is included is also relatively unimportant, although the order listed is generally preferred.

  • Description (physical, behavioral) - what makes this (group of) critter(s) different from its close relatives? Include here evidence about cognitive capacities.
  • Habitat - where does it live? how broadly does it roam? maps are good
  • Cultural, Religious, Economic, etc. Importance - what impact has it had on humans? Include here use for experimental purposes that do not relate to other headings.
  • Classification - how does it fit into the tree of life?

Use a taxobox[edit]

Scarce swallowtail
Iphiclides podalirius.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Iphiclides
Species: I. podalirius
Binomial name
Iphiclides podalirius
Linnaeus, 1758

In general, each arthropod article should have a taxobox. This is something we have inherited from the Tree of Life WikiProject. There are many examples there to look at.

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/taxobox usage for the full details on constructing a taxobox.

Taxoboxes on the arthropod pages vary quite a bit from one another and could perhaps be standardised more than they are right now. This may or may not be a good thing. Discussion of this is welcome.

Here are several examples of arthropod taxoboxes, suitable for cut and paste insertion into entries:


Stub templates[edit]

Remember to mark up stubs with the appropriate template :

For all other arthropod-related stubs (Myriapoda, Merostomata, Pycnogonida, etc.), use the template {{arthropod-stub}}.

Talk pages[edit]

Please place {{ArthropodTalk}} at the top of an article's talk page. This will help to direct editors to the WikiProject Arthropod mainpage for guidance.

It is also good practice to grade the article (by importance, and by quality), see Article Classification. This is actually quite important; this way we can stay on top of the huge number of Arthropod-related articles.


Please make sure to add articles to the appropriate categories among the ones listed on Wikipedia:WikiProject Arthropods/Categories. If there are any categories that you think should be created, please request them here or on the talk page.

In some cases, there might be more appropriate ways to group articles than categories, such as lists or article series boxes. For more information, see Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and series boxes.