Adding non-RG images to species

How do people feel about assigning an image to a taxa, if the Observation is non-RG?

Would this be more helpful, despite possible drawbacks, than seeing the default missing icon.

I personally utilise non-RG observations to aid my IDs, so I would prefer to see an example, rather than nothing at all, even there is a higher chance of being incorrect.


For very obscure taxa there may only be one expert working on a group, and so there may not be secondary identifiers available to get those species to research grade. Setting a default image is still valuable in these cases


There are a few genera where I’m confident adding non-RG images as needed. Typically, this happens in genera where I’ve read much of the research and I know that I’m doing a lot more IDs than anyone else on iNat. Usually, I’ve found someone else’s iNat observation that I’m confident is a taxon not previously ID’ed on iNat. In those circumstances, I don’t want to pressure anyone else to confirm the ID, but I want to make sure that iNat has a taxon image. Also, I suspect that if I don’t add the taxon image(s) straight away, I’ll forget and won’t come back later when it’s at RG.

If you’re considering this, you might also want to know that you can add images from any observation, even if it doesn’t currently have a community ID of the same taxon. Just paste the observation ID number into the search box under “Choose photos for this taxon”. This can be helpful if the observation has old IDs for a different species and is likely to languish at genus-level for a while.


While I agree with the other comments to an extent, I do think this should be a last resort, and that the first option should be to add your ID, explain it, and tag someone in to confirm, so that the observation is more likely to become Research Grade. Even someone who is not a specialist in that particular group, but who knows related groups well, may be more able to confirm an ID if you explain the diagnostic features and link to an external reference in the identification comments.

Also note that once the first RG observation of a species appears, an image will be added by default to the species page within about 24 hours, so there’s less need to come back and add the image manually.


Exactly. I do this all the time. Someone adds photos of a species with no observations yet, so I add them to the page right away. Sometimes they have a conflicting initial id and as is very often the case that id is never changed and the observation never goes to that species, in which case the photos are on the species page with no observations listed.

Absolutely, if you actually know what you’re talking about.
Something related that I’ve wished for is to be able to add photos from observations with that ID even if it isn’t the community taxon yet, though I understand that’s probably never going to happen. But sometimes I’ve ID’d an uncommon robber fly and there’s a perfect photo but the observer never revists and changes their disagreeing ID, so it’s stuck in disagreement limbo. Alas…
Edit: turns out you can already do this, my bad! Thanks for teaching me.


You can do this. Copy the observation number and put it in the search box when selecting pictures. Let me know if you need more details.


Oh, cool, thanks! I never thought of doing that, and it just worked.

Thanks all.

I think the consensus is a tentative yes.

I’ll start where I feel its appropriate.


Just to cross-link the threads, here are some examples of why it is best to proceed with caution when adding non-RG images, and only do so if you have very good reason to be confident your identifications are correct:

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I think it’s fine as long as you feel really confident the ID is correct. So many RG observations are incorrect anyway, that status doesn’t really mean as much as it could.


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