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I have a series of fields to check for a certain value, then calculate other fields with using UpdateCursor.

Fields are: SPECIES_CD_1, SPECIES_CD_2, etc.. up to SPECIES_CD_99

Here is the general idea (some pseudocode in here):

rows = arcpy.UpdateCursor(FC) 
speciesLevel = "SPECIES_CD_"
for x in range (2,99):
    speciesX = speciesLevel + str(x) #this is a string
    speciesUnicode = speciesX.decode #Decodes the speciesX string to Unicode

    for row in rows:
    if row.speciesUnicode == 'P%':
        [do a whole bunch of things]
    elif row.speciesUnicode == None: 
        [do other things]
    else:
        [do other things]

Of course the cursor cannot identify a row named speciesUnicode, so the cursor fails to run. I want speciesUnicode to act as a variable that subs in a field name. Is this possible somehow?

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    There is no UpdateCursor in the code presented. For this to qualify as a code snippet that works up to where you are stuck you need to show just a little more code. As it stands this looks more like a Python (Stack Overflow) than ArcPy question. – PolyGeo Aug 29 '17 at 23:37
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    Pseudo-code doesn't cut it when the actual Python is required to tell what you're doing wrong. – Vince Aug 29 '17 at 23:37
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    Which actual cursor are you trying to use? There is 2 different types: arcpy.UpdateCursor and arcpy.da.UpdateCursor, they are fundamentally different, which is what @PolyGeo is saying, we need to see the real code where you declare the cursor and try to access the values. – Michael Stimson Aug 29 '17 at 23:44
  • Thanks all. I have added some lines to clarify I am using arcpy.UpdateCursor. I am open to changing to arcpy.da.UpdateCursor if that works better for this purpose. – grego Aug 29 '17 at 23:50
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    You shouldn't really use an arcpy.UpdateCursor for anything. – Vince Aug 29 '17 at 23:59
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You seem to be looking for values in all your SPECIES_CD_ fields that start with P. Here's a way to do this using list indices applied to your row. Note that I'm using the data access cursor so hopefully you're at 10.1 or above.

fc = ... #feature class
flds = ... #fields for cursor
with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor (fc, flds) as curs:
    for row in curs:
        for x in range (2, 99):
            fldName = "SPECIES_CD_" + str (x) #field name
            fldIndex = flds.index (fldName) #field index
            fldVal = row [fldIndex] #field value
            if type (fldVal) == str: ### check if value is a string
                if fldVal.startswith ("P"): #check if value starts with 'P'
                    [do a whole bunch of things]
            if fldVal == None:
                [do other things]
            else:
                [do other things]

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