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In 2003, Peter Skidmore began work for the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum to produce a computerised compilation of the invertebrates of Thorne and Hatfield Moors, as a prerequisite to a published inventory. This latter eventually appeared in 2006, as a handsome addition to the Forum’s Monograph series. In the monograph, Peter characterized and described the invertebrate faunas, and provided a keyed listing of 4790 fossil and living species obtained to the end of 2005. The inventory was widely acclaimed, but one disadvantage to its use was articulated by John Badmin in his review published in The British Journal of Entomology and Natural History (20: 201): “There is no index so you need to know your taxonomy to locate specific taxa”. This was no idle comment. The range of invertebrate classes and orders covered is so wide, no-one is likely to embrace them all. Even within any but the smallest orders, only the specialist can find his way around the sequence and nomenclature. The need for an index became obvious. But so too was the reason for its absence. The gruelling work of formulating an inventory of 4790 species, plus assembling all the supporting chapters and appendices, was a sufficient labour, easily capable of defeating a lesser entomologist.
Following Peter Skidmore’s death in 2009, Peter Kendall agreed to be his successor as invertebrates recorder for the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum. Having taken on this job, and with the inventory as a baseline, Peter Kendall had, in his own words, “to get to grips with the whole of the invertebrates”. As a coleopterist, he was – like many other users of the inventory – able to make headway, having his own specialism as a basis. Nevertheless, the need for an index became increasingly apparent. Such a compilation was a daunting prospect, but Peter felt that he had to do it if he was to become an efficient recorder for such a wide range of organisms. He began to realise that, perhaps surprisingly, it was not an entirely thankless task. Its worth was obvious to users of the inventory, and although launched as a self-help project, the index’s wider application meant that Peter received encouragement to complete it.
The Executive Committee of the Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum was impressed by Peter Kendall’s conscientious and systematic approach to indexing the inventory, and enthusiastically agreed to support and publish it as a traditional publication in two parts. The first of these, ‘Main Headings’, lists the hierarchy of names from families upwards. The ‘Full Index’ gives the foregoing, plus all genera and species. Although all levels of classification down to species are listed in alphabetical order in the ‘Full Index’, races and forms/varieties are included under specific names, so are not independently indexed.
As with most difficult tasks, there was the unexpected to face. For example, the final computer version of the inventory was not available, so an earlier draft had to be the basis of the index script, visually checked against the published monograph. This added to the workload and its complexity. Another problem centred on spelling lapses and wider inconsistencies in the inventory. Although these did not diminish its usefulness, they exacerbated the difficulties for the indexer. It was decided that any flaws had to be listed in the index, and corrections have not been added. It is an index to the inventory, not a perfect list, and this decision should be born in mind when using it. Further, it was resolved to add the names of plants mentioned in the introductory chapters.
The result is a user-friendly, indexed inventory of the entire recorded range of invertebrates from Thorne and Hatfield Moors. It is an authoritative resource for naturalists and other conservationists, available as a review, and as a basis for future work and decision-making.
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