Scientific names will generally yield more reliable results, but many Tree of Life pages are now also indexed with the common names of the organisms. Searches are not case sensitive, so a search for Dinosauria is the same as a search for dinosauria. If your search does not come up with the groups you are looking for, you can try finding related groups by wandering up the branches of the Tree of Life starting either from one of the popular groups or from the root.
Here are a few examples of how the the different search options work:
|Search option:||Search term:||Possible search results:|
|partially||dendro||Dendrobatidae and Actinodendron|
|exactly||actinodendron||Actinodendron but not Actinodendronidae|
|beginning of name||dendro||Dendrobatidae but not Actinodendron|
|end of name||dendron||Actinodendron but not Actinodendronidae|
If more than one word is entered, the search will treat the text literally with spaces included, not as separate words. For example, searching for water frogs will return the following groups for the different search options:
|Search option:||Possible search results:|
|partially||Western Palearctic water frogs but not Big purple water squirting frogs|
|exactly||Water frogs but not Western Palearctic water frogs|
|beginning of name||Water frogs of the Western Palearctic but not Western Palearctic water frogs|
|end of name||Western Palearctic water frogs but not Water frogs of the Western Palearctic|
If you select this option, your search will retrieve only the major groups matching your search criteria; i. e., if your search matches a group AND one or several of the subgroups of this group, your search results will only contain the larger, more inclusive group, while the subgroups are omitted. For example, searching for insect without the closest to root option, will result in a list of taxa including:
However, turning on the closest to root option will reduce your search results to just Insectivora and Hexapoda, because the four other matching groups are contained within the Hexapoda. Thus, the closest to root option allows you to concentrate on the major groups matching your search criteria.
The restrict search to group option lets you concentrate your search on the subgroups of one particular group. For example, you may be looking for a group of ants, and you remember that the name begins with lepto. Doing an unrestricted taxon search for names beginning with lepto would give you over 40 search results to wade through. However, restricting your search to the group "ants", will narrow your search down to only four options: