This is your list of things that might be found living in the wild.
An ideal checklist may also include seasonal information, such as when a bird's migration takes it through your area
or when a plant is expected to flower.
Ready to see what lives in Texas? Click the Texas tab above.
If you are going to build your own checklist, you will probably need to gather information from multiple resources.
It is necessary to merge these results into a single
list to eliminate duplicates and resolve any differing uses of scientific names. Here is a tool to assist with that.
First create a plain text file with one scientific name per line (Example: Echinacea purpurea). Then click the
"Browse" button to select your file, and submit. The tool will look up each name in the ITIS database,
resolve any synonyms to the currently accepted scientific name, eliminate duplicates, and return a CSV file
with Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, and Species. This file is suitable for opening with
spreadsheet software such as Excel or Open Office.
Your checklist should be as comprehensive as possible, otherwise it is impossible to know if there is another species
in the same range with the same field marks.
At the same time, don't expect that your checklist is 100% perfect.
There is always that possibility that you have spotted something not previously recorded in your
area, or that your checklist was not as comprehensive as you though it was.
Don't attempt to put all living things in a single checklist.
Have one checklist for birds, one for plants, and so on, will make it easier to construct
a checklist from various sources.
Having a list that is targeted to your specific location will help keep the size manageable.
For popular subjects such as birds, butterflies, dragonflies, or plants, it should be possible to
create a checklist for your county.
For lesser studied subjects such as spiders or ants, you may need to settle for a checklist that
covers all of Texas.
If working off of a county checklist, it may be useful to also have a state (or regional) checklist to fall back on
anytime you are not confident that your specimen can be identified to one of the items on your list.
Items on the list should be grouped in a meaningful way, such as by class then family,
such that you can place your specimen first in a family before narrowing down to genus and species.
It must include the scientific name (genus and species) for each item on the list,
because it is not unusual for the same common name to be associated with unrelated things.
Find existing checklists
If you are satisfied with a state level checklist, Texas Nature may have already compiled the list using
many resources, or refer to the evidence footnotes to go to the original sources.
It's nice to have a checklist for your county. Start by using your favorite search engine to see
if anybody has already done the work.
Compile a checklist
The resources below include regional or county data.
In most cases, do not expect any of them to individually provide a complete checklist for a county.
A better checklist will be made by combining results from many sources.
- iNaturalist, where amateurs and experts alike may enter observations. Evidence is taken from research quality observations having agreement from multiple users.
- USDA Plants Database, advanced search for Texas plants from the United States Department of Agriculture.
- BRIT Digital Herbarium, look to see if the Botanical Research Institute of Texas has a flora project for your county.
- BugGuide Advanced Search, enter a scientific name in the Taxon ID field, set the state to Texas, and enter your county.
- Bird Checklists of Texas, compiled by Bert Frenz.