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WoRMS webservice

As a user or developer you can use the WoRMS webservice to feed your own application with standard WoRMS taxonomy.
A few examples of possible applications:
  • get the AphiaID for your taxon
  • check the spelling of your taxa
  • get the authority for your taxa
  • get the full classification for your taxa
  • resolve your unaccepted names to accepted ones
  • get all synonyms for a taxon
  • fuzzy/near match your species list
  • resolve a common name/vernacular to a scientific name
  • get the common name(s)/vernacular(s) for a taxon
  • get the sources/references for a taxon
  • get the WoRMS citation for a taxon
  • get the direct children for a taxon
  • get all taxa modified during a time interval
  • get an external identifier for a taxon
  • get the AphiaID for an external identifier/database
We currently support the platform-independent SOAP/WSDL standard.

Web Service Definition Language File: WSDL file
Brief description: AphiaNameService description

Please, let us know if you are using the webservice, so we can add you to the users list.
Don't use the webservice to harvest WoRMS completely, you can request a database dump by completing this form
For problems or questions, please contact info@marinespecies.org

Example implementations

Change history

You can stay informed of any changes to the webservice.
Send an empty mail to webservice-subscribe@marinespecies.org.
  • 2015-02-23 updated function getAphiaID to return -999, when multiple matches are found (i.e. homonyms). Now returning 'replaced by' AphiaID for deleted taxa
  • 2014-06-27 updated R instructions to fix the 'infinite recursion' error
  • 2013-08-06 bugfix for mixing up 'extidentifiers' and 'externalidentifiers', the latter is kept
  • 2013-07-17 added function getAphiaRecordByExtID and getExtIDbyAphiaID (this results in removing the function getAphiaRecordByTSN)
  • 2013-07-17 added function matchAphiaRecordsByNames, which uses the TAXAMATCH algorithm by Tony Rees. This results in removing/ignoring the fuzzy parameter in all other functions
  • 2013-07-17 added function getAphiaRecordsByDate
  • 2013-07-17 extended the AphiaRecord object with properties: isMarine, isFreshwater, isBrackish, isTerrestrial, isFossil, match_type, modified
  • 2013-02-18 added note about R compability/problems
  • 2012-11-30 added Python example
  • 2012-11-06 added unacceptreason to the AphiaRecord object
  • 2012-06-28 added Perl example
  • 2012-06-13 added optional 3rd parameter 'marine_only' to the function getAphiaChildrenByID
  • 2012-05-16 added Taverna example
  • 2012-02-20 added LSID to the AphiaRecord object
  • 2012-02-13 added example for Excel 2010/Visual Basic .NET 2010
  • 2012-01-03 added example for TCL and links to API publishing sites
  • 2011-12-07 added elements 'link' and 'fulltext' to the Source output object
  • 2011-09-21 added function getAphiaChildrenByID
  • 2011-09-21 added optional parameter 'offset' for functions getAphiaRecords and getAphiaRecordsByVernacular, and 'like' for getAphiaRecordsByVernacular

Webservice/API has been published or implemented in:

Linking to WoRMS

If you simply want to link to WoRMS, just use this URL: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxlist&tName=Your Species
i.e. http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxlist&tName=Solea solea
(This assumes that you have no idea if the taxon exists, or you do not want to look up the AphiaID)

If you know the taxon exists, lookup the AphiaID, via the search interface, and link to this URL: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=AphiaID
i.e. the AphiaID for Solea solea is 127160: http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=127160

Wikispecies has a template to link back to WoRMS.
It is available here: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:WRMS (credits go to Lycaon)

Life Science Identifier (LSID)

LSIDs are persistent, location-independent, resource identifiers for uniquely naming biologically significant resources.
The LSID concept introduces a straightforward approach to naming and identifying data resources stored in multiple, distributed data stores in a manner that overcomes the limitations of naming schemes in use today [more information].

WoRMS has implemented LSIDs for all its taxonomic names and they are displayed on each taxon page. We have integrated the AphiaID into the LSID, so in fact you can continue using the AphiaID.

For example: the LSID for Solea solea is: urn:lsid:marinespecies.org:taxname:127160
You can resolve an LSID via the various services available.
Example for Solea solea: http://lsid.tdwg.org

The returned model is RDF (XML) with metadata elements from Darwin Core and Dublin Core.

Vocabularies using a WoRMS unique identifier