[API-users] How to query genus names with the GBIF API

Markus Döring mdoering at gbif.org
Thu Sep 7 13:36:07 CEST 2017

Give it a try then. Unless you have a huge user base this should not be overloading GBIF.
We have decided to rather use a single field for the entire name and do an autocomplete on that.
Maybe this approach also works for you, then you could also just use the suggest as it is.
See the name filter here (type into "search" under Scientific Name):


On 7. Sep 2017, at 12:12, Szlamka József <szlajozs at gmail.com<mailto:szlajozs at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Markus,

My idea is that based on the validation services provided by GBIF to implement a search form with similar functionality (autocomplete, etc.) as the "Search for scientific names" form at Catalogue of life:

What is your opinion, is this way with the GBIF suggest api plus client side filtering a proper way? Considering the possible number of unnecessary result records (everything where kingdomKey<>6) and the number of unnecessary fields in each record (everything except the GENUS field), wouldn't that be an unacceptable overload at GBIF side and performance / bandwidth issues at the requestor webapp side?


2017-09-07 11:47 keltezéssel, Markus Döring írta:
this is unfortunately not possible.
You will have to filter them clientside checking for records with kingdomKey=6 or kingdom="Plantae"


On 7. Sep 2017, at 11:22, Szlamka József <szlajozs at gmail.com<mailto:szlajozs at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Markus,

Thank you very much. Do you have any idea, using the "suggest" API would it be possible somehow to filter the results for the Plantae kingdom only?


2017-09-07 10:17 keltezéssel, Markus Döring írta:
Hi József,

the GBIF API hardly anywhere accepts wildcards. Apart from fuzzy matching entire words the only place you can use is the suggest API which should help you with your problem.

It is a kind of autocomplete and you have to match the beginning of a word. It wont match in the middle or end. It does match on all words or tokens of a string, so for a species name it will match the genus part, the epithet or even the authorship. Results are prioritized with author based matches coming last and higher ranks being more important.

Here is an example:

The suggest API only allows you to retrieve 100 records though, but you can page through results up to 100.000 records max:
-> returns first 100 genera starting with Ado

-> returns 49 more genera starting with Ado

-> returns 0 genera as expected


On 7. Sep 2017, at 08:36, Szlamka József <szlajozs at gmail.com<mailto:szlajozs at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Scott,

Many thanks for your answer. I also added the "&highertaxonKey=6" param to narrow the results for plant genera only.

To be more precise what I exactly wish to achieve is as follows:

I only want to search within the "Plantae" kingdom.

Say, I look for the GENUS name "Adonis" but I only remember that the name starts with "Ado".

So my ideal API call would run a wildcard search within PLANT GENERA names for "Ado*" and would result in a list of ALL (without limit) plant genera names starting with "Ado*".

I played with the "/species/match", "/species/search" and "/species/suggest" sub-apis and with the "q" and "name" params. They don't accept wildcards and don't give the expected results for name chunks without wildcards.

Now my only hope is that I left out some constellations or misused something.


2017-09-06 23:21 keltezéssel, Scott Chamberlain írta:
Have you tried something like


where datasetkey=d7dddbf4-2cf0-4f39-9b2a-bb099caae36c is for the GBIF backbone taxonomy


On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 2:10 PM Szlamka József <szlajozs at gmail.com<mailto:szlajozs at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hello to all list members,

I'm new on this list and also new to the GBIF API. I'd like to get a
list of all the genus names occuring in the GBIF database. After several
hours of trying with the API, and no success, I found this mailing list.
I hope that API guru members on the list can show me the right way or
tell if this is not possible at all.

Thank you in advance.

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