- Sourcing. ALWAYS back up your facts with good sources from reliable places. If you have a book handy, that is perfect. Just remember how to cite from a book.
- Be original. An original article is a great article. Try to be as creative as you can in creating an article. It is generally unacceptable to simply copy an article from Wikipedia, or copy an article from Wikipedia and change it slightly. The same thing goes for other websites as well; it is considered plagiarism.
- Be neutral. An article should never contain any sliver of bias inside it, for example, don't go around saying that Burmese Pythons are the sweetest things in the world, or that a certain reptile company is very bad at what they do. This also corresponds with Sourcing.
- Be clear. Try your best to make your English plain and understandable. Nobody likes to read and sift through terrible mistakes just to see what someone's talking about. Use proper English, avoid slang or vague wording, be concise, but don't use excessively verbose writing.
- Be informative. An article should try its best to educate the reader all there is to its subject. Use whatever you can, write well, and don't be messy. Use images where images are needed, and use the herp taxobox.
Naming an article
For the naming of a species, in many cases it is best to use the common name for the species instead of its binomial name (such as Bearded Dragon instead of Pogona vitticeps). This is also true if it is for non-species clades; if a clade is more often referred to by its common name (for instance Anole instead of Polychrotidae). However, if the species is more often referred to by its scientific name than its common name, (or if the common name is disuputed), you may use the former. Such is the case for Uromastyx.
To summarize, only name a species article by its scientific name if:
- There is no common name
- The common name is disputed, or
- The scientific name is more commonly referred to than the vernacular.
If a name is different in alternate varieties of English (Australian English, American English), find the name that is the same in the most varieties of English. For example, Tiliqua is called a Blue-Tongued Skink in American and British English but a Blue-Tongued Lizard in Australian English.
Introducing an animal article
At the beginning of an article, be sure to make the title of the article in question in bold letters, for example:
- "The fringe-toed lizard is a small phrynosomatid adapted for life in sand dunes."
Sometimes it is best to state the basics first for the article, to give the reader an idea of what the article is about.
- "As a means of communication with animals both the same species and potential threats, a lizard will perform certain movements as body language to attract mates, claim territory, or scare off other animals..."
If a animal or object has another name to it, you may also have the synonyms in bold (as long as they are in the heading):
- "The Corn Snake, or Red Rat Snake, is a common species of rat snake that lives in most of southeastern North America..."
Please note that binomial names need not be bold, instead, mark them in italics, and if necessary mark the generic name of the species as an inital (for example L. californae).
Second, in addition to explaining what the animal is, be sure to only give basic information such as type (colubrid, iguanid, etc.), location, and other essentials. If the reader wants to learn more, they will be able to scroll down. The header is so that the reader can get a basic summary of what the animal is. If it is threatened by anything, you can also write it here.
Common nouns of animals, e.g 'lizard' or 'snake', should be kept lowercase as with most common nouns. Proper nouns of animals however, should be capitalized, for example 'Bearded Dragon'. It can be tricky however to figure out which is common and which is not. Simply because an animal has a name unlike what you usually hear does not make it a proper noun. In fact, it can be used to describe a variety of animals that are related to each other, for example chuckwallas and fence lizards. Only when the species is narrowed down does it become a proper noun, for example Common Chuckwalla, and Western Fence Lizard.
For taxons, all clades except the species and subspecies should be capitalized.
Here in Reptipedia, we find it both easy and neutral to use Linnaean taxonomy when categorizing the taxonomy of animals. This is not to be confused with Carl Linnaeus' original form of taxonomy in 1735, but the form of rank-based biological classification. For most of your taxonomic needs, you may use Wikispecies, as they use Linnaean taxonomy. You may want to double-check on the names to see which name is the modern one; Wikispecies can have a few outdated synonyms (For example, Wikispecies calls Lacertilia Sauria).
Because the scope of the wiki focuses on herpetofauna, it is unnecessary to include a kingdom to the herp taxobox. You can simply keep it to the phylum, to let in articles for inverts as well.
- [introduction paragraph]
- Taxonomy (if rank is genus or higher)
- Distribution and Habitat
- Diet (optional for common insectivorous lizards with no notable prey)
- Venom (if venomous, if poisonous simply switch name to Poison)
- Behavior (if documented and notable)
- In captivity
Where to get images
- Wikimedia Commons - The whole purpose of Wikimedia Commons is to provide free images for websites, especially wikis. If you get an image there, simply use the same license that it has on Commons.
- Flickr - Some images on Flickr have licenses that are set in the public domain, or under a Creative Commons license. If they do not have these licenses, it is best to ask the author of the image for permission first.
- Yourself - It is very acceptable to upload user-created images onto Reptipedia. Just make sure that the image has clarity, and not out of focus, dark, or otherwise hard to see, so it can properly serve the purpose of educating the public about the article it is featured on.
Where not to get images
- Image search from a search engine - Most images from a search engine are either copyrighted or stolen themselves. It is, however, close to impossible to pinpoint the license on the specific image. If possible at all, ask the author of the image(s) about the licensing on the pictures. Otherwise, DO NOT upload things you see from a search engine.
- Blatantly copyrighted works - If you see a signature next to an image you see, especially if it has the copyright (©) symbol, please do not upload it onto Reptipedia.
Unlicensed images will be set to delete.