digital Identification keys
& reference collection
Eutaxa – a Digital Solution for Species Determination
Eutaxa has solved these problems by developing a complex electronic identification software that includes dichotomous and multivariable keys for the identification of organisms down to species level, but also provides an extensive digital reference collection. Thousands of high-quality microphotographic images of an indicator group are stored in its archive, which the user can access at any time and arrange and compare in any number, size and combination, in order to learn species-specific discrimination criteria more easily. This saves scientists having to build up their own reference collection and facilitates training to become an expert.
Prerequisite for Taxonomic Studies
In order to gain confidence in the identification of organisms, two areas are required, among others: 1. years of work as a specialist to gain sufficient knowledge of the morphological specificity of species, and 2. the establishment of a reference collection that can be accessed at any time to verify distinguishing criteria by comparing specimens and to regularly refresh one’s knowledge. Such collections usually remain incomplete and require regular maintenance, as the material preserved in alcohol dries out easily. Moreover, they are reluctantly used for comparisons in order not to damage the valuable material.
Version 3.0 Improvements
The new software 3.0 was largely adapted to the old versions in function and interface. Some changes have been made to the Gallery (reference collection) and Query-Key (multivariable key), and images can now be rotated. The provision of updates has also been taken into account in V. 3.0.
An innovation also concerns the distribution: The programs are no longer available on CD/DVD but offered as download on the Eutaxa website.
Software Versions 1.0 to 3.0
In 2004, the first version of the software was programmed that could be installed on Windows operating systems from XP to 7 and 8. Due to setup problems with Windows 10, a new version 3.0 had to be developed, which will be available from autumn 2023. This version is compatible with Windows 10, 11 and higher and will be offered as a download.
Modular Program Design
Each program consists of several modules that are linked together and allow interactive work. For example, the dichotomous key accesses data from the Ecology, Morphology and Gallery sub-applications, while the Gallery (reference collection) imports query results to sort species by the hit rate. In addition, data from the multivariable key (Query Key) can be adjusted accordingly to correct any errors in the key.
A total of six identification programs have been developed over the last 20 years using this software. A seventh product, the Trichoptera Family Key is available as a free demo version. Currently, further programs are in development or in planning. More information about the individual products is available under Products.