Regular Expressions 1

There are many diverse sources of biological data in the modern world, but not all of them are nicely cultivated into well structured data. For a project you’re working on you need a list of all of the rodent species in the world. You find a great list of rodents by following the first link on a Google search for List of Rodents.

Unfortunately it’s in HTML and scraping HTML is generally considered to be a bit of a nightmare. Fortunately it’s a Wikipedia article and Wikipedia has a nice feature to let us see the source code (or wiki markup) that is used to build the HTML. This is same as what we would see if we clicked on the Edit tab of the article, but accessible in a simple text file. This can be done useing the general url:

where PAGETITLE is replaced with the actual title of the page.

Download the wiki markup and write a short script using regular expressions that extracts the list of all latin binomials from the page. Export this list as a text file, one species per line, with genus and species separated by a comma.