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Reptipedia:Manual of Style

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We at Reptipedia wish for a uniform yet enjoyable format for reading, therefore we have a Manual of Style to lay down some rules and guidelines.

For information on some of the more basic writing techniques and styles, see Wikipedia's Manual of Style.


General rules Edit

  • 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 Edit

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 Edit

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.

CapitalizationEdit

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.

Taxonomy Edit

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.

Layout Edit

The layout for a standard herp article should be as projected here:

  • [introduction paragraph]
  • Description/Anatomy
  • 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)
  • Reproduction
  • In captivity

You can add whatever extra sections as you wish, as long as it is notable, such as 'In popular culture', 'As an invasive species', 'Conservation', etc.

The description should include a specific definition of what the animal looks like, its size in a detailed manner, special features, and so on.

The taxonomy section should only be used if the article is about a rank Genus or higher, or if the species has many subspecies. If it is the case for either, put it in a tree format similar to how Wikipedia creates theirs.

Distribution and Habitat should include the natural location of the animal, as well as their preferred biome.

Diet, as the name suggests, should be what the animal commonly eats. If it has a preferred prey animal, write it here. For carnivorous reptiles & amphibians, simply type what it commonly eats, for example "The common kingsnake is a carnivore, eating rodents and birds, but they greatly prefer other reptiles such as lizards and especially other snakes."

Venom, or poison, should only be written if the animal in question is venomous or poisonous, respectively. Write the type of system the animal uses to deliver the toxin (rearfanged, front fanged, etc), it's technique of striking, the type of toxin and where it attacks, the contents and makeup of the toxin, antivenom, etc.

If notable, you can use the Behavior section to explain its activities; its sleep-wake pattern (diurnal or nocturnal), communication, defensive measures, shedding, and any other types of behavior that is notable.

For Reproduction, state the method of giving birth, oviparous (egg-laying), viviparous (live birth), etc., mating season, egg-laying date and hatching date, clutch size, and so on.

For the 'In captivity' section, you may state why the animal is so popular in the pet trade. Also state the type of requirements they need, such as caging, decor, temperatures, and any additional information that may be useful with giving the most care for the animal. If it is a notably popular pet such as a Bearded Dragon, Corn snake or Pacman frog, it may have its own care article that this section will link to.

Images Edit

When uploading a photo, if you can, be descriptive as to what the photo is, where it was taken, etc. It is very important that you use the Licensing tab at the bottom and honestly state its distributing license. If it's license calls for it not to be distributed, do not post it here. Otherwise, simply take its license and select the right one. If it is yours, you need not worry about the licenses, just select 'I took this photo myself'. If you run into any problems with the licensing you may ask about it in the forums. If it is from Wikimedia Commons, most if not all images there are public; simply license accordingly.

Where to get imagesEdit

  • 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 imagesEdit

  • 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.

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