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Retrieve the taxon concept of a specific taxon (scientific name).


  taxonomy = "CITES",
  with_descendants = FALSE,
  language = NULL,
  updated_since = NULL,
  per_page = 500,
  pages = NULL,
  raw = FALSE,
  token = NULL,
  verbose = TRUE,
  pause = 1,



a character string containing the query (e.g. species). Scientific taxa only (max 255 characters).


filter taxon concepts by taxonomy, accepts either 'CITES' or 'CMS' as its value. Default sets to 'CITES'.


a logical. Should the search by name be broadened to include higher taxa?


filter languages returned for common names. Value should be a vector of character strings including one or more country codes (two-letters country code ISO 3166-1 alpha-2). Default is set to NULL, showing all available languages.


a timestamp. Only entries updated after (and including) this timestamp will be pulled.


an integer that indicates how many objects are returned per page for paginated responses. Default set to 500 which is the maximum.


a vector of integer that contains page numbers. Default is set to NULL, i.e. all pages are accessed.


a logical. Should raw data be returned?


a character string containing the authentification token, see Default is set to NULL and requires the environment variable SPECIESPLUS_TOKEN to be set directly in Renviron. Alternatively, set_token() can be used to set SPECIESPLUS_TOKEN for the current session.


a logical. Should extra information be reported on progress?


a duration (in second) to suspend execution for (see Sys.sleep()). This was added cause the web API returns a 404 error too many requests in a short time interval.


Further named parameters, see httr::GET().


If raw = TRUE, then a object of class spp_raw is returned, which is a list of lists. If raw = FALSE, then an object of class spp_taxon is returned, it is a collection of seven data frames:

  1. all_id: general information for all entries, including non-active taxon concepts,

  2. general: includes general information for active taxon concepts,

  3. higher_taxa: includes taxonomy information,

  4. accepted_names: list of accepted names (only for synonyms),

  5. common_names: list of common names (only for accepted names),

  6. synonyms: list of synonyms (only for accepted names),

  7. cites_listing: list of current CITES listings with annotations (missing if taxonomy == 'CMS').


if (FALSE) {
# this calls will only work if a token is set and valid
res1 <- spp_taxonconcept(query_taxon = 'Loxodonta africana')
res2 <- spp_taxonconcept(query_taxon = 'Amazilia versicolor', raw = TRUE)
res3 <- spp_taxonconcept(query_taxon = '', taxonomy = 'CMS', pages = c(1, 3),
 language = 'EN', config = httr::progress())
res4 <- spp_taxonconcept(query_taxon = '', per_page = 20, pages = 44)