Agreeing only with the nominal species is making a subspecific identification research grade

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Platform (Android, iOS, Website): Website (and it says “Testing API V2”)

App version number, if a mobile app issue (shown under Settings or About):

Browser, if a website issue (Firefox, Chrome, etc) : Firefox

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Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.):

Step 1: Two users where identifying an observation on genus level

Step 2: One user is adding an identification on subspecies level

Step 3: I am adding an identification on species level
Now the Observation is research grade on the subspecies level, even though i have no idea on the subspecific classification of that species. There is only one agreeing identification “Protaetia cuprea ssp. metallica”, so research grade should only be granted to the species level.

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It’s working not quite like that:

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I would check the community ID of the observation and verify that it is at subspecies rank. The ID at the top of the page will show the subspecies ID and an RG next to it (which is confusing), but I think the Community ID (which would be the “ID of record”) should still be just at species level. This has fooled me before. Not sure if it is the case for the observation you’re looking at, but something to check.


Yeah the same thing happens if the observer IDs an observation to species, and then multiple people make a “soft disagree” (green) higher level identification and one of them checks “No, the ID cannot be improved.” It’s technically RG at the community ID of genus or whatever, but it looks and acts exactly as if it were RG at species.


From my experience with iNaturalist I assumed that Research Grade is defined to species (and also genera and family after certain actions) as noticed in the comment above) but not for subspecies, so agreeing with any subspecies, not only the nominotypica, results in Research Grade, which is for species only. Generally it implies subspecies are considered here as an axillary category of not much importance. This makes some sense, as subspecies are often rather weakly defined. So this is, as usual, rather a feature than bug. But this attitude of subcpecies as not deserving research grade of their own would better be disclaimed somewhere.

A worse drawback is that in so many species which have subspecies as community names here, the nominotypical subspecies is missing at all from the community names, so that it is impossible to identify an observation of its representative to subspecies. This is incompatible with the taxonomy, where there must be the nominotylical subspecies if there is at least one other subspecies. (A bug in taxonomy but not in software.) It would be wise to make the nominotypical subspecies created authomatically (if it is absent) when some curator adds some subspecies to community names. This would again be a feature request…

Subspecies can also be RG if they meet the criteria (generally 2 agreements). The problem here is due to the discrepancy between the Community Taxon and Observation Taxon. Research Grade status is determined by the Community Taxon at species level, but the Observation Taxon (subspecies) is displayed prominently and appears to be linked to RG. Bottom line, it’s not a “bug” since it’s working as intended, but it is annoying and causes unexpected behavior.


Исследовательский уровень может быть от рода и до подвидовых рангов, подвиды не считаются чем-то неважным, хотя многие действительно относятся к ним поверхностно (это всё же зависит от групп), подвиды вполне себе получают нормальный RG при двух определениях подвида, просто если первое определение подвида, а потом идёт определение вида, то таксон сообщества остаётся на виде (т.к. 2/3 голосов согласны с видом), но показывается наблюдение именно как если бы основным определением был подвид, мне кажется, это упрощает поиск таких наблюдений.
Это не баг, т.к. сайт не позиционируется как таксономический ресурс, а значит не все таксоны в нём должны присутствовать, даже высказывались, что не надо понапрасну добавлять массово виды без наблюдений, поэтому если кому-то хочется определить номинативный подвид, его довольно просто добавить, хотя сама идея автоматического добавления заслуживает внимания и её, возможно, действительно стоит выделить в отдельную тему.

So if the subspecies is later raised to a species without any additional identifications, does it lose RG status because the prior species-level IDs no longer discriminate among species?

I am not 100% sure, but I think that if there were a 1-for-1 taxon swap that raised the subspecies to a new, different species, then the older species levels IDs should be in conflict with the new species. That would likely lead to the community ID for the observation being at the genus level. If no one has ticked the “good as can be” box, then it would go back to “Needs ID”.

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I also just came across the opposite issue: an observation that was already RG at the species level doesn’t even show up as an observation for the subspecies when the subsp ID is added (I want to add it as the thumbnail photo since it’s the only observation; the two subspecies are very different and probably separate species). I assume this is due to it being RG at the species level overriding the subspecies ID, because this didn’t happen for observations with only one species-level ID.